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Module 3: Prevention of Tooth Decay

3.6 What is Fluorosis?

Consumption of too much fluoride or use of too much topical fluoride (for example, swallowing excessive amounts of fluoridated toothpaste) during infancy and childhood, when the teeth are developing, can result in fluorosis. Fluorosis usually appears as small white areas in the enamel. Fluorosis is a cosmetic problem that usually does not affect health. The risk of fluorosis can be greatly reduced by properly supervising fluoride use in infants and children, especially up to age 6 when the teeth are developing.

Generally, infants and children will not consume too much fluoride as long as

  • Only a smear or the size of a grain of rice of fluoridated toothpaste is used for infants and children under age 3,
  • Only a pea-sized amount of fluoridated toothpaste is used for children ages 3 and above, and
  • An adult brushes the infant’s or child’s teeth or, for older children, supervises toothbrushing.
teeth with fluorosis

Fluorosis