Dental fluorosis is generally a mild, non-harmful cosmetic condition characterized by white lines or specks on the teeth. (It is also referred to as mottling of the tooth enamel.) This usually is caused by taking dietary fluoride supplements or swallowing more than a minimal amount of fluoride toothpaste in addition to drinking and cooking with fluoridated water.

Dental fluorosis can be avoided by parents of children aged 2 to 6 by applying only a pea-sized amount of toothpaste to a child’s toothbrush and teaching children not to swallow toothpaste. Parents of children 2 and younger should consult with their family dentist about appropriate fluoride use.

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services provides more information about dental fluorosis and specific information about the appropriate amount of fluoride for specific ages.

Learn more about fluorosis on the ADA’s public website: