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A member asked:

is it true that fluoride can cause tooth discoloration in children?

8 doctor answers22 doctors weighed in
Dr. Michael Coogan
Pediatrics 48 years experience
Yes: Fluoride, which occurs naturally in some city water supplies, is incorporated into children's developing teeth and helps to prevent tooth decay. Many municipalities have carefully added Fluoride to their water. Unfortunately, too much Fluoride may cause discoloration of the enamel. You should speak to your pedodontist or pediatrician about the proper amount of Fluoride for your child.
Dr. Andrew Killgore
Cosmetic Dentistry 16 years experience
The potential systemic health consequences to our pediatric population far outweigh the benefits of strengthening enamel and caries prevention. I have attached a brief Harvard overview to reference one of many potential concerns. http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/news/features/fluoride-childrens-health-grandjean-choi/
Jul 15, 2013
Dr. Anthony D'Amico
Dentistry 54 years experience
In addition there can be potential consequences to the adult population. Some areas have naturally ocurring very heavy concentrations of fluoride in their water and flourosis or dark discoloration is common in these localities. I am a dentist but have never been in favor of medicating a total population to treat one segment-especially when they can receive the benefits of flouride in other ways.
Oct 1, 2013
Dr. Michael Wexler
Cosmetic Dentistry 23 years experience
I agree to some extent with Drs. D'Amico & Coogan, but want to add that injested (drops, pills, drinks high in fluoride, swallowed toothpaste) is difficult to control dosage that could lead to discoloration of developing adult teeth for a specific child. Discolored baby teeth is usually caused from something injested or illness of mother during pregnancy. See: http://www.888-smile.com/Ask_Dr.html
Oct 5, 2013
Dr. Kathleen Forcier
Specializes in General Practice
Yes: Most kids get enough Fluoride just by drinking fluoridated tap water. Some children drinking well water or bottled water need Fluoride supplements. Too much Fluoride can cause white or brown flecks on your teeth so it's important not to give supplements to kids that don't need it and that you use Fluoride free toothpaste before your toddler learns not to swallow toothpaste.
Dr. Robert Kwok
Pediatrics 33 years experience
No: Fluoride supplementation is fine for children, and doesn't cause discoloration unless the children are getting too much fluoride. In cities where Fluoride is already added to the water, children may not need additional Fluoride (parents need to ask the dentist/doctor). Also, children should not swallow toothpaste that contains fluoride.
Dr. Andrew Killgore
Cosmetic Dentistry 16 years experience
Fluoride supplementation introduces significant health risks that outweigh the old school of proposed benefits. Most studies show that fluoride is most effective when it is in contact with teeth. Keep it on teeth and out of the body if possible.
Sep 19, 2013
Dr. Josephine Ruiz-healy
Pediatrics 39 years experience
Yes: If you get to much Fluoride your teeth may discolor, a condition called fluorosis. There are many sources of Fluoride we do not really understand and it is possible to over do it. Check if your community has Fluoride in the tap water and if so avoid supplements and excess fluorinated toothpaste intil your child is over 2 years old.
Dr. Sarah Kohl
Travel Medicine 35 years experience
Yes: Too much or too little Fluoride is a problem for babies and children. Drinking water with Fluoride added is safe and promotes healthy teeth; fluoridated drinking water does not cause stains. Stains on teeth can be caused by too much Fluoride supplementation. Your doctor will determine the correct dose of Fluoride for your child if there is an insufficient amount in your water.
Dr. Michael Wexler
Cosmetic Dentistry 23 years experience
I agree with Dr. Kohl and would like to add that I would caution the use of fluoride supplements that are injested (drops, pills, tabs, liquids, etc.) since it's nearly impossible to decide on the proper dosage for a specific child. I have seen several teenagers in my dental practice with stained teeth from these added supplements. Child caries is due to poor oral hygiene not lack of fluoride.
Oct 5, 2013
Dr. George Ayoub
Cosmetic Dentistry 18 years experience
Yes: If teeth are still erupting and forming once teeth are erupted than no.
Dr. Jerry Hu
Dr. Jerry Huanswered
Cosmetic Dentistry 23 years experience
HIgh amounts: Yes, too much Fluoride is not good. Check if you are in a fluoridated community, want only 1ppm of Fluoride in water. Also, make sure you use ada approved dental products for children, and yes, there are plenty of benefits when using Fluoride properly.
Dr. Kenneth Grossman
A Verified Doctoranswered
A US doctor answeredLearn more
Yes: This usually occurs in rural areas where there is excess Fluoride naturally in the well or spring water. In young children when the teeth are in the developmental stages, this excess fl. Can cause dark spots on the teeth , noticed when they erupt. This is not a common occurrence.
Dr. William Williams
Cosmetic Dentistry 46 years experience
White spots on teeth called mottling is related in some cases, Deeper brown stains in teeth is also a form of fluorosis. However, the normal amount of fluoride in water that is measured by our public water systems is safe (1 ppm) and will not cause any discoloration.
Sep 16, 2013

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