Fluoride Intake

Fluoride – found naturally in all water and foods – is necessary to prevent tooth decay, in infants and children but regular fluoride intake above optimal amounts can cause fluorosis in developing teeth.

Though breast milk and most ready-to-feed formulas contain infant-safe fluoride levels.  Community water often contain fluoride levels higher than 1.2 ppm, the highest amount proven to be beneficial in preventing tooth decay.

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.

If your child's teeth develop brown spots, visit your dentist to check for fluorosis. It also could signal tooth decay, in which case your child may be prescribed fluoride supplements. If you correct a fluorosis problem in your child's first primary teeth your child probably won't have a problem when the permanent teeth erupt at age 5 or 6.

For preschoolers, the parents should place the paste on the brush. Because of inadequate developed control of the swallowing reflex in children under six years, and even less controlled in children under three years, it is possible for preschoolers to swallow as much as 0.8 g of toothpaste per brushing which amounts to 0.8 mg of fluoride. Fluoridated toothpastes should not be used during brushing for children less than two years old.

When introducing toothpaste, IDA recommends using a small pea-sized dab. Parents should be brushing their child's teeth with this amount until the child is 6 years old. Until this age, children don't have the dexterity to brush by themselves properly and they tend to swallow the toothpaste and ingest the fluoride, which can put them at risk for fluorosis (tooth discoloration).

Fluoride supplements

Children at high risk for dental disease and who drink low or no fluoride water may be prescribed a supplement in the form of a pill or lozenge.

Fluoride Dosage Schedule