Fluoride Action Network

Infant Exposure

"Fluoride is now introduced at a much earlier stage of human development than ever before and consequently alters the normal fluoride-pharmacokinetics in infants. But can one dramatically increase the normal fluoride-intake to infants and get away with it?" - Dr. Jennifer Luke.

New Recommendations

Based on the new understandings about infant fluoride exposure, even ardent pro-fluoride organizations have begun acknowledging the ill-advised nature of exposing babies to fluoride.

Fluoride Supplements:

For decades, dentists prescribed fluoride drops (“supplements”) to newborn infants in an ill-conceived attempt to strengthen the babies unerupted teeth. Although the FDA never approved these prescription drops as either safe or effective, dental and pediatric organizations recommended this practice. This, however, is no longer the case.

In 1994, the American Dental Association (ADA), American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD)  issued new recommendations that infants under six months of age should receive no fluoride supplementation. As noted by the ADA, “Fluoride supplements are not recommended for children younger than 6 months.”

To learn more about fluoride supplements, click here.

Fluoridated Water

A large number of dental researchers, and even some pro-fluoride dental organizations, now recommend that babies not receive fluoridated water during their first year of life. According to the Academy of General Dentistry:

“When formula concentrations need to be diluted, it is recommended parents use bottled water that is fluoride-free or low in fluoride or tap water from a reverse osmosis home water filtration system, which removes most of the fluoride.”

The American Dental Association (ADA) issued similar interim guidance in 2006. In its guidance, the ADA recommended that “parents and caregivers should consider using water that has no or low levels of fluoride.” Sadly, for reasons that appear to have less to do with the public interest and more to do with the public relations problem its guidance created for water fluoridation programs, the ADA has since backtracked on this recommendation.

Nevertheless, many dental researchers have made it clear that all fluoride supplementation (whether from drops or water) is unnecessary and undesirable. Indeed, shortly after the ADA issued its recommendation in 1994 that fluoride drops not be provided to newborn infants, a team of prominent U.S. dental researchers stated the obvious:

“Breastfeeding of infants should be encouraged, both for the many documented, general health benefits and the relative protection against ingestion of excessive fluoride from high quantities of intake of fluoridated water used to reconstitute concentrated infant formula early in infancy. . . . Use of powder concentrate would be recommended only for those with low-fluoride water.”
SOURCE: Levy SM, Kiritsy MC, Warren JJ. (1995). Sources of fluoride intake in children. Journal of Public Health Dentistry 55: 39-52.

To see the recommendations and warnings from other dental researchers, click here.

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