Should I Give My Child Fluoride?


Photo courtesy of Center for Disease Control and Prevention

Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral and with the right dosing, fluoride is an excellent and safe way to strengthen your child’s teeth and decrease his/her chances of getting a cavity.

Tooth decay is the single most common chronic childhood disease.

2000 US Report of Health Services

28% of children between the ages of 2-5 have decay

78% of kids by age 17 have decay

 Communities that are fluoridated show a 50% decrease in cavity rates.

There are 2 ways fluoride can be used. Fluoride can be ingested through fluoridated tap water or fluoride supplements. This type of “internal” fluoride supplementation will increase the strength of the enamel of the developing permanent teeth. You can also use fluoride topically by placing fluoride toothpaste or gels directly on to the existing teeth in your child’s mouth. In summary, topical fluoride helps decrease cavities in existing teeth, and ingesting fluoride internally will help make a child’s developing permanent teeth stronger. The American Academy of Pediatrics, the U.S. Public Health Department, and the American Dental Association all recommend that children ages 1 to 16 years old receive fluoride either in the water that they drink or as a supplement.

Today, most municipal water supplies are fortified with fluoride. The water supply for Orange County is made up of water from the Metropolitan District of Southern California and contains an average fluoride level of 0.6 parts per million. If the local water supply has a fluoride content of more than 0.3 parts per million then your child does not need a supplement in the form of drops or tablets. You can get information about how much fluoride your tap water contains by contacting your local water department, or by purchasing a test kit.

Although fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral, it is important that children get the right amount of fluoride, as too much over time can lead to fluorosis, a condition that causes white spots to appear on your child’s adult teeth. While most cases of fluorosis are mild, severe cases can cause a brownish mottling on the teeth and weaken tooth enamel. But these cases are mostly caused by over consumption of fluoride through swallowing of toothpaste or fluoride supplements, not through drinking city water. To avoid this, do not use toothpaste or mouthwash that contain fluoride until your child learns how to properly spit out which generally is not till the age of 3 or 4 years old . We recommend when using a fluoride toothpaste, use only a rice-sized amount for children under the age of 3.

Speak with your child’s pediatric dentist to determine the right amount of fluoride for your child.

For more information, please visit us at

Source: “Fluoride Supplements” by Anonymous. May 20, 2011.

Source: “Brush up on Healthy Teeth.”

Source: “Toothcare for Children” by the BabyCenter Medical Advisory Board. September 2011.



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4 responses to “Should I Give My Child Fluoride?

  1. I don’t think using fluoride tooth paste for kids is not a good habit. There are many alternatives.

  2. Fluoride is an industrial waste product – it is NOT appropriate to the human organism to supplement as it is toxic in anything more than trace amount! have you ever read the warnings on a fluoride toothpaste? there is a reason–

    Tooth decay is ABOUT DIET – the consumption of grains, seed oils, and refined sugars is clearly shown in Dr Weston Prices work form 80 years ago! We STOPPED AND HEALED our 1 year olds tooth decay in 3 months with diet changes and proper supplementation –

    Please start advising people that the food they eat is KEY – along with proper dental care.

    Ravi Wells
    Don’t go back to sleep…

    • Hello Ravi, thank you for your comment. I absolutely agree! Diet and hygiene are key factors in the prevention of tooth decay. As a dentist it is so sad to me that each generation continues to eat more and more refined sugars and that the cavity rate in young children is increasing. The amount of children we see having tooth pain is heartbreaking especially since most cases are preventable. We are always educating our parents that minimizing carbs/sugars is what is most important in avoiding cavities. Unfortunately the reality is that our diets are becoming more and more unhealthy. Fluoride supplementation whether topically or internally is one way to strengthen tooth enamel. Xylitol, Calcium and Phosphate are other options. People need to be well informed of all of the various options that can help prevent tooth decay. Diet, hygiene, genetics, the anatomy of one’s teeth, the amount of saliva one produces and the type of bacteria in one’s mouth are all factors that effect how cavity prone someone is. It’s great if already existing decay can be arrested (stopped from growing) which we do often in our practice -but if the bacteria/decay has progressed into the inside softer layers of the tooth (dentin layer), changing diet alone unfortunately will not prevent it from growing. This particular blog was focused on fluoride but please check in to read future informative blogs. 🙂

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