Fluoride & Dental Health
How Can Fluoride Help My Child?
Fluoride is an element that improves dental health by strengthening teeth to help resist cavities. However, too much fluoride can lead to dental fluorosis. This condition can be harmful because the fluoride can create a chalky white to brown discoloration of the permanent teeth.
It’s easy for children to ingest more fluoride than they need so being aware of potential sources can help prevent the possibility of dental fluorosis.
Sources of Excess Fluoride
- Ingesting too much flouridated toothpaste at an early age.
Inappropriate use of fluoride supplements
- Young children (ages 2-3) tend to swallow toothpaste during brushing
Hidden sources of fluoride in the child's diet
- Do not give fluoride drops, tablets or fluoride-fortified vitamins to infants younger than 6 months of age.
- For children older than 6 months of age, give supplements only after accounting for all other sources of fluoride and only on the recommendation of your pediatrician or pediatric dentist.
- Foods containing high levels of fluoride include powdered concentrated infant formula, soy-based infant formula, infant dry cereals, creamed spinach, and infant chicken products. Be sure to read labels or contact the manufacturer of these products.
- Beverages that contain high levels of fluoride include decaffeinated teas, white grape juices, and juice drinks manufactured in fluoridated cities.
Decrease the Risk of Fluorosis in Your Children's Teeth
- For very yougn children, use toothpaste made for babies rather than fluoridated tooth paste.
- Place only a pea sized drop of children’s toothpaste on the brush when brushing.
- Account for all sources of ingested fluoride before requesting fluoride supplements from your child’s physician or pediatric dentist.
- Avoid giving any fluoride-containing supplements to infants until they are at least 6 months old.
- Obtain fluoride level test results for your drinking water before giving fluoride supplements to your child (check with local water utilities).