All About Fluorosis


is a disease that affects the bones and the teeth due to excessive fluoride intake which is most commonly found in the drinking water system. Moderate amounts of fluoride in the drinking water may cause dental affects,but large intake of fluride for a long period may cause severe skeletal defects. But on the contrary, ingesting low levels of fluoride minimizes dental caries. Read on to know more about this medical condition, fluorosis.

Causes of Fluorosis

Acute, high-level exposure to fluoride is very rare. It occurs due to accidental exposure of drinking water to fluoride or due to explosions or fires. According to

WHO standards

, moderate chronic level of fluoride exposure is

above 1.5mg/litre of water

. This is more common. There are different sources of fluoride contamination such as toothpaste, polluted air, water and foos. But most significantly, drinking water is the main source of fluoride contamination.

Dental Fluorosis

The dental effects due to excessive ingestion of fluoride develops earlier than the skeletal effects. The clinical dental fluorosis is manifested as pitting and staining of the teeth. In severe cases of fluorosis, the teeth enamel may be completely damaged. However, fluoride intake, after a child is six years old, does not cause dental fluorosis.

Skeletal Fluorosis

Chronic, high-level of fluoride exposure can result in skeletal fluorosis. In this condition, fluoride accumulation is seen in the bones. This accumulation takes place for many years. Early symptoms of this ailment includes pain and stiffness in the joints. The bone structure changes and the ligaments calcify in severe cases. Also, it leads to pain and impairment of muscles.

Other effects resulting from acute, high-level fluoride exposure include

  • Muscle spasms
  • Seizures
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Excessive saliva
  • Abdominal pain

Distribution Of Fluorosis

The fluoride in the drinking water has a geological origin. Drinking water containing high amounts of fluoride is found most frequently at the foot of mountains. Also, it is found in those areas where the sea has made deposits.

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