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Health Line

Parents know that fluoridated toothpaste is good for their children’s teeth and can help prevent cavities. What they may not realize, however, is that overusing toothpaste or other sources of fluoride in very young children can be a case of too much of a good thing.

According to a report in the Journal of the American Dental Association, intake of excess fluoride – whether through toothpaste, fluoridated water, fluoride supplements, or a combination of these – can cause a condition in children known as dental fluorosis.

This condition is not known to cause actual health problems, but does cause an unsightly discolouration of the teeth, Dr. David G. Pendrys, associate professor of dentistry at the University of Connecticut in Farmington, said.

The condition is particularly a problem in children under six, whose permanent teeth are developing even though they have not yet erupted through gums. The researchers found that 39%of the youngsters from the area of unfluoridated water had some signs of fluorosis as did 34%of those areas with optimal fluoridation of water. In its mild form, fluorosis appears as white lines or streaks on the teeth that can be detected only by a trained examiner, though more severe cases can lead to mottled teeth and even brown staining or pitting of enamel.

For children from non – fluoridated areas, most fluorosis was attributable to excess fluoride supplement use from ages 2 to 8, brushing more than twice a day during the first two years of life, and using more than a pea—sized amount of toothpaste.

(As reported in The Hindu Business Lines)

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