Fluoride Toothpaste Linked To Teeth Discoloration In Children

November 30, 1998

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Children who use too much fluoride toothpaste before age 6 may run an increased risk of developing a condition that discolors teeth, new research shows.

A study of 1,189 seventh-grade children in India found that nearly 13 percent had fluorosis, a primarily aesthetic condition that affects adult teeth during their development. Children in this study who had used a fluoride toothpaste (8.2 percent) before age 6 had almost twice the rate of fluorosis as children not exposed to fluoride at that age. In the United States, about 95 percent of children 6 years or younger use fluoride toothpaste.

The results don't mean children shouldn't brush with fluoride toothpaste, said Ana Karina Mascarenhas, assistant professor of dentistry at Ohio State University. However, parents should make sure their child uses no more than a pea-sized amount each time they brush.

Also, the researchers found that the children who began brushing under the age of two with a fluoride toothpaste seemed to have a more severe form of fluorosis.

In mild cases, fluorosis tends to leave teeth with white stains. In severe forms, which are not very common, teeth can turn brown and enamel may break off, which can lead to cavities.

She conducted the study with Brian Burt of the University of Michigan. The results appear in a recent issue of the journal Community Dentistry and Oral Epidemiology.

According to Mascarenhas, no one had studied whether toothpaste might be a primary cause of fluorosis. She and Burt examined junior high school-aged children in Goa, India.

They cleaned the subjects' teeth with gauze and let the teeth air dry one minute before checking for fluorosis stains. Mascarenhas said she chose Goa because the state does not add fluoride to its water supply and other sources of fluoride are scarce. This means the children received most of their fluoride from toothpaste.

The researchers had the children's parents fill out questionnaires which included a history of fluoride toothpaste use and children's brushing habits. Parents were asked to circle a picture of the amount of toothpaste that most closely resembled what their child normally brushed with.

Ninety-three percent of the parents reported using toothpaste when they first began brushing their child's teeth. About equal numbers of children, 44 percent and 41 percent respectively, reportedly used toothpaste amounting to half or three-quarter lengths of the toothbrush head. The rest of the children were equally divided between using either a pea-sized or full-brush amount.

The American Dental Association recommends children under 6 use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste. The ADA also recommends fluoride supplements -- in the form of tablets or drops -- be given to children 6 months or older who do not have access to fluoridated water. The U.S. government began fluoridating community water sources in 1945 with fluoride levels of 1 part per million. Without adding fluoride, water naturally contains fluoride levels of about 0.05 to 0.1 parts per million.

Mascarenhas said a tube of fluoridated toothpaste contains fluoride levels of about 1,000 to 1,500 parts per million. She added that many European countries offer toothpastes with lower fluoride doses, around 250-600 parts per million, for use by children.

"I do recommend that children under 6 years old use a fluoride toothpaste," Mascarenhas said. "But parents should put less toothpaste on their child's brush and supervise the child when she brushes."
-end-


Ohio State University

Related Fluoride Articles from Brightsurf:

A salt solution toward better bioelectronics
A water-stable dopant enhances and stabilizes the performance of electron-transporting organic electrochemical transistors.

Antiferromagnetic fluoride nanocrystals
Recently, researchers from Peking University, Shenzhen University and National Institute for Materials Science (NIMS) report that the altered passivation of specified facets can direct the synthesis of fluoride nanocrystals into dimension-controlled products in a colloidal approach.

To make or to break: Novel reversible technique produces acyl fluoride using rare metal
Acyl fluorides are organic compounds that contain a fluorine atom in their structure.

Study reveals how too much fluoride causes defects in tooth enamel
Exposing teeth to excessive fluoride alters calcium signaling, mitochondrial function, and gene expression in the cells forming tooth enamel -- a novel explanation for how dental fluorosis, a condition caused by overexposure to fluoride during childhood, arises.

Simple test could prevent fluoride-related disease
Northwestern University synthetic biologists developed a simple, inexpensive new test that can detect dangerous levels of fluoride in drinking water.

New UW study questions value of fluoride varnish
A new study by 2 University of Washington researchers and their colleagues questions the cost-effectiveness of fluoride varnish for preschoolers and calls its anti-cavity effects 'modest and uncertain' in this age group.

Stretchy plastic electrolytes could enable new lithium-ion battery design
Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology have developed a promising new cathode and electrolyte system that replaces expensive metals and traditional liquid electrolyte with lower cost transition metal fluorides and a solid polymer electrolyte.

Lithium fluoride crystals 'see' heavy ions with high energies
Lithium fluoride crystals have recently been used to register the tracks of nuclear particles.

Study examines maternal exposure to fluoride in pregnancy, kids' IQ scores
An observational study of 601 mother-child pairs from six cities in Canada hints at an apparent association between maternal exposure to fluoride during pregnancy and lower IQ scores measured in children ages 3 to 4.

Fluoride may diminish kidney and liver function in adolescents, study suggests
luoride exposure may lead to a reduction in kidney and liver function among adolescents, according to a study published by Mount Sinai researchers in Environment International in August.

Read More: Fluoride News and Fluoride Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.