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Should I Give My Baby Fluoride?

Are fluoride supplements necessary for my baby/toddler?

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Are fluoride supplements necessary for my baby/toddler?

The Bump Expert
That depends. Is your water supply fluoridated? If your water supply contains between 0.7 and 1.2 parts per million of fluoride, you’re good to go. Your doctor or dentist should know if your municipal water supply is adequately fluoridated. If not, check with your city’s water department. You can also try looking up your community on the CDC’s web page My Water’s Fluoride.

If your water supply is not fluoridated, your child may need fluoride supplementation. Babies less than six months of age do not need fluoride supplements, but older kids may need them, depending on the amount of natural fluoride in your water. If your water supply comes from a private well, get it checked. Your local health department should be able to point you to a lab that can analyze your water. If the level of naturally occurring fluoride in the water is less than 0.7 parts per million -- or if your family relies on bottled water instead of tap water -- fluoride supplements are recommended. Talk to your dentist or pediatrician, who can prescribe or suggest supplements based on your child’s age.

Plus, more from The Bump:



Michael Lee, MD, assistant professor of pediatrics at UT Southwestern Medical Center and pediatrician at Children’s Medical Center Dallas

Should I Give My Baby Fluoride?

As a pediatric dentist with Houston Pediatric Dental Specialists, I can say that most babies drinking formula do not need fluoride supplements. The other answers are correct, it is valuable to know how much fluoride is in your tap water, but that makes the assumption that your child is drinking your tap water. If you are using bottled water or filtered water, then there will not be fluoride added unless it stipulates that on the bottle. Most formulas are manufactured in a way that their fluoride content is adequate for infants. Fluoride is important for developing teeth, so as infants your child's baby teeth and some of the permanent teeth are calcifying and need the benefit of the fluoride. As your child ages, the permanent teeth continue to calcify before they erupt. So a good rule of thumb is to have your child drink tap water if it is fluoridated until the age of 9, if you want to use bottled water or filtered water and your child is at high risk for cavities, a fluoride supplement prescribed by your pediatric dentist is a great idea until your child is 9 years old.

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