Is Fluoride Bad For Toddlers?

Is Fluoride Bad For Toddlers?
Posted on 06/12/2017

 boys laying on bed 

At the office of Dr. Richard Goldberg, we’re often asked about pediatric dental care, specifically if fluoride is safe to use with our youngest patients. Our practice agrees with The American Dental Association (ADA) that states parents can use a tiny “smear” of fluoride toothpaste as soon as their children’s first teeth appear through the gums.

Even though the ADA has endorsed the use of fluoride for decades as a safe and effective way to prevent tooth decay, there’s been an ongoing debate raging for years over whether or not fluoride should be added to public water supplies. Essentially, the water fluoridation controversy arises from political, moral, ethical and safety concerns.

A Brief History of Fluoride in Drinking Water

Many cities started adding fluoride to their drinking water in the 1940s after being recommended to do so by dental experts who researched the oral health benefits of fluoride. During this period, optimistic advocates of fluoride predicted that future generations of kids could be raised without cavities. But those opposing the fluoridation of drinking water thought that those drinking the water would be at higher risk for developing life-threatening health conditions like cancer, kidney failure, and bone diseases.

In spite of this ongoing debate over fluoride, the verdict of the scientific community is that water fluoridation, at recommended levels, safely provides oral health benefits to children and adults.

How Do I Know If My Children Are Getting Enough Fluoride?

Since many public water supplies contain fluoride, most people get the fluoride they need by drinking tap water. However, not all areas of the country put fluoride in their water supplies. Plus, more and more families are drinking bottled water, which in most cases, doesn’t contain any fluoride at all. If you are unsure if your main source of drinking water contains fluoride, contact your local government to find out.

It is important to note that fluoride exposure has been linked to ADHD and other neurological conditions when too much of it is ingested. While it’s not a big issue if your toddler swallows fluoridated toothpaste now and then, excessive consumption of fluoride is not recommended.

Fluoride Tips 

  • Start Early: As soon as you see your child’s first teeth coming in, you can use a thin smear of fluoride toothpaste that’s no bigger than a grain of rice. When your child reaches the age of two, you can start using a pea-size dab of toothpaste. Be sure to teach your child to spit, and not swallow the toothpaste.
  • Use an ADA-Approved Toothpaste: To ensure the fluoride level is safe, only use toothpaste with the ADA seal of approval.
  • Be Wise About Water: Provide your child with fluoridated tap water or give him or her bottled water that contains .7 ppm to 1.2 ppm of fluoride. 

Contact Your Local Monroe Township Dentist 

If you have any questions about fluoride and how it can help your toddler avoid tooth decay, please feel free to contact us at (732) 251-7722. If you’d like us to provide your child with topical fluoride treatment, or need to visit our office for your child’s first visit, please request an appointment online. We look forward to hearing from you soon!