You asked

Is it true that fluoride can discolour my child's teeth?

Enamel fluorosis is a condition that is caused by exposing teeth to too much fluoride. Children's permanent teeth are especially at risk from being stained from fluoride. Fluorosis shows up as white specks or streaks on the teeth. In extreme cases, the stains can be brown in colour and tooth surfaces can be coarse and pitted.

Because most municipal water is already fluoridated, it is usually not necessary to use fluoride supplements to strengthen your child's teeth. Most doctors recommend that children only get fluoridated toothpaste after the age of two years. A child can also get exposed to too much fluoride by swallowing toothpaste or mouthwash. Using too much toothpaste at a time is also a contributing factor. Children should make sure that they use the right amount of toothpaste and rinse properly after brushing.

As a parent, you should not try to avoid using fluoride toothpaste for your children's teeth, just because of the possible side effects. Fluoride does help prevent the formation of cavities, which are common in children, due to their tolerance for sweet, sugary food and drink.

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