Dental Fluorosis is a bio-marker that shows that children, up to the age of 8, have been over-exposed to fluoride while their teeth have been developing. Fluoride is well recognized as being an enzyme inhibitor and ingested fluoride can interfere with the enzymes in the specialised cells that make tooth enamel while teeth are developing up in a child's gums.
While the majority of cases of Dental Fluorosis in Australia are mostly mild and are seen as small white spots or lines, cases of moderate and severe Dental Fluorosis do occur in a much smaller numbers. Moderate and severe Dental Fluorosis is seen as objectionable to observers and to those who suffer it.
Australia's National Heath and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) has defined Dental Fluorosis as;
"a disturbance of tooth formation caused by Fluoride being present in the tissue fluids over a prolonged period during tooth development. The disturbance results in the development of porous enamel which has an altered appearance ranging from the most mild forms, in which small flecks of white discoloration can be observed on the tooth surface, to the most severe forms, in which the enamel develops pitting and brown staining"Dental Fluorosis is irreversible but can be disguised by expensive cosmetic dentistry, one method being the use of porcelain veneers. Fluoridation promoters deny that Dental Fluorosis is an adverse health effect, even though sufferers can suffer loss of self-esteem and Psychological harm by having their appearance impacted. Teenagers are particularly sensitive in respect to body and appearance image.
Ingested and absorbed Fluoride accumulates in the body, with 99% of accumulated Fluoride being stored in bones.
Dental Fluorosis is a window to what is happening in the body and can indicate increased accumulation of Fluoride in bones.
To see pictures of Dental Fluorosis please go to http://www.fluoridealert.org/dental-fluorosis.htm for more information and to see pictures of mild, moderate and severe fluorosis and to read letters from people impacted by Dental Fluorosis.
There is a paucity of research or data on Dental Fluorosis rates in Australia and apparently no data available on Dental Fluorosis rates in adults.
Even after 42 years of fluoridation in Townsville, no Dental Fluorosis data is apparently available to compare Townsville to unfluoridated Brisbane. WHY NOT?
It has been reported that approximately 40% of 12 year old children in Perth and 56% of 10 to 16 year olds in South Australia had some form of Dental Fluorosis. A recent study of a small number of children reports a drop in Dental Fluorosis rates, but it remains significant.
When water fluoridation was commenced in Australia the concentration of Fluoride was purportedly chosen to maximise caries prevention and minimise harm from Dental Fluorosis. It was believed then that only 10% of the Australian population would suffer from Dental Fluorosis. In Australia Dental Fluorosis rates has been proven to be much higher than 10%.
In 1999 the British Government commissioned York University to do a Meta-analysis, or a review of reviews on water fluoridation. It was to be the be- all and end-all to prove that water fluoridation was "safe and effective”.
The findings were misused by the British Fluoridation Society and Dental Associations which led Prof Sheldon, Chair of the Review, to issue a statement on what the review really found. Included is this was a statement on Dental Fluorosis
"The Review found water fluoridation to be significantly associated with high levels of Dental Fluorosis which was not characterised as "just a cosmetic issue".Australian Fluoridation promoters continue to claim that Dental Fluorosis is "only cosmetic".