Fluoride Action Network

Dental Experts: Too Much Fluoride Is Bad For Babies

SOURCE: WCVB-TV (Boston) | January 3, 2007

BOSTON — Dental experts are warning that too much fluoride could be a bad thing for babies.

NewsCenter 5’s Liz Brunner reported Wednesday that if you’re a parent, you may have noticed Nursery Water. It’s fluoridated water and bottled for babies. It’s marketed as a way to help prevent tooth decay.

Dental experts said there’s no doubt that fluoride is the best way to fight cavities, but they warned that parents should not be giving any fluoridated water to infants under 1 year of age.

“During that time when they are growing, excessive fluoride can be damaging,” pediatric dentist Dr. Howard Needleman said.

He said while fluoride is safe in small amounts, too much of it can make a smile look less appealing.

“Too much fluoride can cause fluorosis, which is this mild speckling of the teeth with little white or yellow speckles or streaks,” Needleman said.

Mild fluorosis is only a cosmetic problem. It does not affect the teeth structurally. Even so, the American Dental Association said parents should not give any fluoridated water to babies under 1 year old. It doesn’t matter if it’s coming from a bottle or a faucet.

“And that’s when their central incisors are beginning to develop and calcify, and the excessive fluoride can damage the way the enamel is laid down,” Needleman said.

The company that makes Nursery Water backs up its product. They told NewsCenter 5 that “according to the American Dental Association, the use of fluoridated water can help children build strong teeth and prevent cavities and tooth decay.”

“It’s a really big industry, and you have to do your research to figure out what is good and safe for your baby,” one consumer said.

“At this point, I wouldn’t give it to her yet,” another consumer said.

Needleman said that once your child’s teeth are fully developed, which is usually when he or she is 12, fluorosis is no longer an issue.