Dental Health Teeth Care

What is dental fluorosis?

Dental fluorosis is a defect of the tooth that results in yellow or brown discoloration caused by high levels of fluoride intake in water or food over a prolonged period of time between the ages of 0-18 years.

dental fluorosis
Photo: Courtesy

What causes fluorosis?

Dental fluorosis is caused by the following:

  • High fluoride levels in drinking water.
  • Ingestion of fluoride toothpaste.
  • Use of fluoride tablets.
  • Cooking food with salty water.
  • Brushing teeth with fluoridated water/salty water.
  • Excessive intake of fluoride supplements.

Areas commonly affected with fluorosis in Kenya

dental fluorosis
Photo: Courtesy

In Kenya, some areas have high fluoride levels in the water (mainly, regions with salty water). They include:

  • Athi river
  • Kitengela
  • Rongai
  • Ngong
  • Nakuru
  • Baringo

What is the normal fluoride level in water?

The recommended normal level of fluoride is 1.5mg per litre or 0.7-1.2 ppm. Normal levels are tested at assigned centres or specific laboratories which will require a sample from your water source at home.

What is the presentation for dental fluorosis?

Fluorosis can manifest in both children and adults. When present, you will observe the following:

  • Yellow or brown discoloration on the teeth. The severity is dependent on the concentration exposure time to salty water.
  • It can be both permanent and baby teeth. However, it is more common on permanent teeth.
  • Teeth can be pitted or perforated and may break and lead to early teeth loss.

Is fluoride ion beneficial in any way?

The acceptable fluoride ion range is less than 1-5 mg/litre and it helps reduce the occurrence of tooth decay. It bonds with the mineral calcium hydroxyapatite to form a stronger mineral called calcium fluorapatite which is more stable in acidic environments especially in the mouth, therefore it decreases dissolution of the tooth structure to reduce cavities.

Where do we find good fluoride  (acceptable fluoride) for our teeth?

You can find beneficial fluoride components from:

  • Fluoridated toothpaste
  • Fluoride therapy(professional dental cleaning)
  • Fluoride fortified food or drink

NB: Boiling or freezing water doesn’t remove instead it concentrates the fluoride ions.

How do we prevent dental fluorosis?

The good news is dental fluorosis can be prevented. You can leverage these approaches to make this happen:

  • Installation of water filter that removes excess fluoride for all water that is used for drinking, cooking, and brushing teeth.
  • Proper dosage of fluoride supplements.
  • Annual dental check-ups are especially for children to identify this condition early and mitigate it.
  • Keep mouth wash, toothpaste, and supplements out of reach for children.
  • Nutritional intervention e.g. high intake of vitamin C and calcium which reduces the absorption of fluoride ions.

What is the treatment for fluorosis?

fluorosis treatment
The discoloration caused by fluorosis can be managed with any of the available dental treatment options for the condition as in the case of this patient. Photo: House of Dentistry, Nairobi

You may have been affected by dental fluorosis when reading this. Worry no more about how to regain your confidence for we have a range of dental procedures (treatments) to help you get a more confident smile.  Below are the available treatment methods for fluorosis:

  • Tooth whitening for mild cases with dental fluorosis.
  • Spot masking for specific spots with discoloration.
  • Dental veneers cover the front of the teeth and improve their appearance.
  • Dental crowns- to completely cover the tooth, especially for severely damaged teeth.
  • Microabrasion technique followed by teeth whitening to make the brown discoloration less apparent.

In case you would like to obtain further assistance reach out to us and we will gladly help.

Featured Photo Credit: African Cities for the Future



14 Replies to “Dental Fluorosis in Kenya – causes and treatment”

  1. Joseph kimotho 2 years ago

    Good morning. I have a 10yr old boy with dental fluorosis. How can he be treated?

    1. Hello Joseph, yes he can be treated. Would you like to book an appointment soon? Feel free to contact us when ready

      1. Juster Ngugi 2 months ago

        Need my child teeth be treated

        1. Hello Juster,
          Thanks for your interest. We are ready to be of service, please reach our office lines 0700 654317 and 0733 654317 to get started.

  2. 1 year ago

    I need help i hv the same problem but I’m in South Africa help please

    1. Hello,
      We are ready to be of service but you need to visit the clinic for review and treatment. Are you coming to Nairobi soon? Feel free to visit our Westlands clinic when you are around

  3. Charles mugwe 1 year ago

    Hello, I’m having a severe dental fluorosis. Apparently, I have little or no self esteem or confidence since my teeth look bad. Please assist me

    1. Hello Charles, we are sorry you’ve had to go through all this. We welcome you to the clinic for review and proper consultation about your treatment. You can correct the discolouration and regain your confidence. Feel free to call us on 0700 654317

  4. My Daughter is 2 years, 7 months. From the little reading I have done, it seems she has enamel hypoplasia. This from the canine to the premolars. The rest of the teeth are okay. Is this similar to Fluorosis? Is there a chance of saving her adult teeth?

    1. Hello Muthoni, thanks for your inquiry. We can advise precisely once our dentists examine the teeth physically. Are you able to bring her in? That can help greatly to protect her teeth. With her age, she is still in the safe zones.

  5. Moses Olila 7 months ago

    Hello, I have a 7 year old son who has overbite and dental fluorosis on the front teeth. How much is the cost to plan for treatment?

    1. Hello Moses, Thanks for your patience. It’s ideal you bring your son to the clinic for clinical diagnosis to allow us come up with a treatment plan and offer exact guidance on how much it costs to work on his case. For estimates however, teeth alignment is Kshs. 150,000 to Kshs. 200,000 for both jaws. In children, we recommend dental masking to correct fluorosis at Kshs. 5,000 per tooth.

  6. Jacqueline 1 month ago

    Helo.. I’m in Nakuru.
    My daughter has been brushing her teeth with tap water. Is she at high risk of getting fluorosis?

    1. Hello Jacqueline,
      Fluorosis happens when water with high fluoride levels is ingested either through drinking or using it to cook food. There are moments when children swallow water they use for brushing. You may need to exercise extra caution or swap it with purified water.

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