Fluoride and discoloration

Dear Dr. Ellie:

Is it true that too much fluoride causes in the long run white spots/discoloration on teeth? I am wondering this as I am just starting to use the rinse with fluoride along with crest toothpaste?

Thank you,

Hi L,

The quick answer is no, our system will only make your teeth whiter guaranteed!

The problems with fluoride happen if you consume too much fluoride as a very young child, while teeth are forming. This would be during the first three years of life. I would not recommend any kind of toothpaste or rinse for children younger than 3 nor do I think they should have fluoride supplements to eat or drink.

If a small child consumes too much fluoride during these years the enamel cells may not form enamel properly a condition known as fluorosis. Fluorosis makes teeth brown and spotty but lots of fluoride has to be consumed very early in tooth development for this to happen.

Your teeth are fully formed, so this will not happen to you.

The only staining seen in adult teeth happens with the use of stannous fluoride (a tin based product). Stannous fluoride is an ingredient in Crest Pro Health (NOT in the Crest Original that I recommend.) Stannous fluoride can stain teeth around the gums forming a black line.

The stain will clean off at the next dental visit but it can be a little alarming to people.

If you use sodium fluoride products (as I recommend) this stain will not form.

The only other stain from the use of fluoride would be if you had a cavity that was deep into the tooth. Using fluoride can stop the cavity getting bigger and start to heal it, but as the cavity heals it can look stained (almost like a scab forms on a skin wound). The tooth will be hard and the infection will heal up ( which is far better than a cavity 🙂 but the stain may remain where the cavity used to be.) This is only seen with people who have really bad teeth and do not have them fixed.

So do not worry your teeth will get brighter and smoother and in about six months other people will notice the difference, I am sure.

Good luck,

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