Dental cavities are a universal condition that afflicts people of all ages. Supplementing water with fluoride is a measure that has been adopted by many countries to counteract formation of cavities. Earlier water used to be augmented with sodium fluoride, but this has since been replaced by hexafluorosilicic acid.
The effect of fluoridating the water has proved itself with a marked reduction in the incidence of dental cavities. Fluoride has also been added to, and is an active ingredient in many tooth pastes to perform the same function.
Fluoride salts form fluorapatite, which occurs naturally in tooth enamel and so enhances the strength of the tooth enamel. It is strong enamel that makes a tooth resistant to acids and bacteria which are the underlying causes of cavities.
But too much fluoride can result in a condition known as dental fluorosis. When a child suffers from this condition, at a young age when the teeth are developing, the teeth are sometimes spotted or marked with white streaks or specks. These are barely perceptible in the early stages. If unnoticed and unattended, the condition can deteriorate with cracking and pitting of teeth. Advanced dental fluorosis is also characterized with black and brown stained teeth.
Dental fluorosis is caused by the total ingestion of fluoride whether from water, toothpaste or other sources. The damage generally takes place in children between the ages of 3 months to 8 years.
Does sodium fluoride stain teeth? Yes, it does. Stained teeth resulting from fluorosis are attended to by a dentist. The procedures adopted are teeth bleaching and micro abrasion to remove stains.
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