What is Fluorosis? Causes & Treatments
28 Feb

What is Fluorosis? Causes & Treatments

We all know that enamel is the protective layer on the teeth.

Do you know? Tooth enamel is the hardest tissue but it cannot repair itself as it has no living cells. Any sort of damage to it affects the teeth' health. The process of enamel mineralization begins at an early stage of teeth formation. Then gradually gets strengthened. This forms the durable layer of calcified enamel tissue that then protects the teeth.

Do you have distracting white spots on your teeth? Are they spoiling your beautiful smile? Unable to figure out why the spots are on the rise?

Fluorosis is most observed in children due to the hypo calcification of tooth enamel. Enamel is the strongest tissue in the human body that protects the teeth. Calcium is the major component in the formation of teeth enamel. Another reason for this is the mineralization disorder during teeth development. Adults are less affected unless they have had fluorosis since childhood. The sign of fluorosis is the chalky-white mottling formed and visible on teeth.

Let’s Cover

  1. Fluorosis on Milk and Adult Teeth
  2. Causes of Fluorosis
  3. Symptoms of Fluorosis
  4. Treating Dental Fluorosis
  5. FAQs


Fluorosis on Milk Teeth:

Fluorosis on primary (milk) teeth is similar to fluorosis in permanent teeth, but it can have different effects on the developing teeth. Fluorosis on primary teeth can cause white spots or streaks on the surface of the teeth, and in severe cases, the teeth may become pitted or discolored. Fluorosis on primary teeth is caused by excessive fluoride intake during the time when the baby teeth are developing, typically before the age of 8.

It is important to prevent fluoride exposure in young children to avoid fluorosis on primary teeth. This can be done by monitoring the amount of fluoride consumed in drinking water and oral care products, such as toothpaste, and ensuring that children do not ingest too much fluoride. It is also important to supervise children when they brush their teeth to prevent them from swallowing toothpaste.


Fluorosis in Adults:

Well, fluorosis may begin in childhood, around a quarter of the elder population suffers from fluorosis. The damage from childhood does not go away completely. It may explode at any time if no proper treatment was taken. Depending on the severity then and the cure, fluorosis may be found again in adults.

This will show a negative impact on tooth health if the resilience of the tooth surface is affected. Fluorosis in adults is a condition that occurs when an excessive amount of fluoride is consumed over a prolonged period of time. This can lead to discoloration and damage to the teeth and bones. Symptoms may include a brown or yellow discoloration of the teeth, and in advanced cases, pitting or erosion of the enamel. It can also cause pain in bones and joints. Fluorosis is preventable by limiting the intake of fluoride, mainly through drinking water and oral care products.


Causes of Fluorosis

Can we ever think that the teeth’s greatest ally could also cause fluorosis?

It is clear that the major cause of dental fluorosis is the excessive consumption of fluoride-enhanced dental products. The more you consume fluorinated foods at an early age shows the more impact of fluorosis. Fluorosis affects children younger than 8 years old.

Dental products are not the only cause. Tap water and some fruit juices also tend to contain an ample quantity of fluoride.

The severity depends on the dose of fluoride, the duration of consumption of fluorinated foods, and the timing of intake.

Fluorosis may be identified when we consume the following:



Fluorinated water - Water is the most consumed fluorinated fluid. If the fluorine levels exceed 1.5 mg/liter increases the risk of fluorosis.

Dental products with fluorine content - Toothpaste and mouthwashes are the next most commonly used dental products. These also contain fluorine. So if the children sallow these may have chances of getting affected.

Fluoride Supplements - However excess fluoride is harmful, our teeth need certain amounts of fluoride. A limited amount of fluoride helps in preventing cavities and tooth decay.


Check the fluoride levels in water or any dental product -

The easiest way to control fluorosis is to keep a track of the amount of fluoride consumption. As it is a naturally occurring mineral found majorly in drinking water, it should be tested for higher than recommended amounts.


Symptoms of Fluorosis


The first identification of a mild form of fluorosis is tooth discoloration. When the fluorosis hit a severe level, it forms thin white lace-like layers on the teeth surface. Most severe forms of fluorosis have larger areas of discoloration on teeth. Also, in a few of the cases of severity, you may also notice rough pits or pock-like marks on the enamel surface. All these symptoms are barely noticeable and are difficult to see except by the dental expert who uses specialized equipment.

Here are some easy analyses to conclude the severity of fluorosis:

Questionable - Slight changes like flecks or a few white spots on the tooth.

Very Mild - Small opaque white areas that cover <25% of the tooth surface.

Mild - The opaque white areas grow to slightly visible shades. But these are still less than 50% of the tooth surface.

Moderate - In this level of severity, the white areas cover more than 50% of tooth enamel.

Severe - When the severity grows from questionable to moderate or more than it, the teeth enamel finds white or brown strains that are highly visible. Also, you will notice enamel depressions.


Treating Dental Fluorosis

If the fluorosis increases in severity, it forms strong and visible white marks on teeth. This will impact the smile visibility. Hence, most dental fluorosis treatments focus on bringing a harmonious smile and maintaining teeth health.

There are a few treatment suggestions to get rid of undesirable white spots on teeth and maintain the smile which we had. Depending on the root cause of fluorosis, the cosmetic dentist will suggest any of the following treatments.

Enamel Micro-abrasion -

A procedure in which a mild acid is used to remove the surface of the tooth enamel, reducing the appearance of white spots or streaks.

Tooth bonding -

A tooth-colored resin material is applied to the surface of the tooth to cover white spots or streaks, improving the appearance of the tooth.

Veneers -

A thin shell made of porcelain or composite material is applied to the surface of the tooth to cover white spots or streaks and improve the appearance of the tooth.

Read more about Dental Caps and Dental Veneers

Crowns -

A dental crown is a cap that is placed over a tooth to cover the entire tooth surface, used in cases of severe discoloration or damage.

Know all about Dental Crowns

It is important to note that these treatments are mainly for esthetic purposes, to improve the appearance of the teeth, but the underlying fluorosis can not be cured.

It is also important to seek the advice of a dentist or pediatric dentist, as they are the best qualified to evaluate the severity of the condition and recommend the most appropriate treatment.

Bottom Line:

If dental fluorosis is present, it is important to consult with a dentist or pediatric dentist to determine the best course of treatment. There are several treatment options available, depending on the severity of the condition, such as microabrasion, tooth bonding, veneers, and crowns. These treatment options can help improve the appearance of the teeth, but it is important to note that they cannot cure the underlying fluorosis. Therefore, it's always better to prevent the condition before it occurs.

Frequently Asked Questions

Get Every Single Answer About The Treatment

1. What are the major sources of fluoride?

● Beverages. ● Foods processed with fluoridated water. ● Fluoride-rich toothpaste or oral care products. ● Topical fluoride & dietary supplements.

2. Do we always need dental fluorosis?

It is not always suggestible as it is more of an aesthetic concern than an oral health concern. People who are much concerned about the appearance of their teeth can opt for this treatment.

3. Does Tea damage the teeth?

Tea powders with high fluoride content cause stains on the teeth and damage the teeth.

4. Is dental fluorosis common?

Dental fluorosis is the most common among children and adults too. It is not a serious dental or oral issue but is aesthetically bad.

5. Can fluorosis be efficiently treated?

We can easily treat fluorosis with proper dental care. But if it turns out to be a permanent change, we cannot treat fluorosis.