Dental fluorosis is damage to the teeth caused by the consumption of too much fluoride while the teeth are forming. Fluorosis most commonly affects the adult teeth because they form at the pivotal time when a child begins using a fluoridated toothpaste for the first eight years of life. Once the teeth are formed and erupt into the mouth, they are no longer susceptible to fluorosis.
Fluoride works by strengthening the enamel of your teeth (which is the outer layer of your teeth) to prevent the penetration of oral bacteria and acids. Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral in the earth and is in some areas naturally occurring in water. In some municipalities, fluoride is added to the water in around 0.7 ppm (parts per million) to help reduce cavities in the population. Fluoride can also be administered topically in the form of toothpaste, mouthwash and topical applications at your dental office. Fluoride administered in office may consist of mouth rinse, fluoride gel, varnish or foam.
It is a mineral that is found in foods, water, and soil. In a dental office, fluoride comes in a higher concentration and in different forms. It can come as a thickened type of gel, as a foam, in liquid form or as a varnish to be applied to teeth. For daily use, it comes in low concentrations in toothpaste and mouthwash.