Is Fluoride Bad for Toddlers?

A child’s dental health and hygiene are just as important as any other aspect of their health — but with all of the recommendations from dentists and new research, it can become confusing for parents to decide what their kids should be putting in their mouth. In the past, the American Dental Association (ADA) has recommended that parents wait until their children are at least two years old before introducing them to fluoride toothpaste. With the ADA changing its recommendations for fluoride and research surfacing that the chemical could be linked to ADHD, many parents are questioning whether the chemical is safe for their toddlers.

What Changed?

Before February 2014, the American Dental Association (ADA) recommended that children be introduced to fluoride toothpaste at two years old. Now the ADA recommends that parents start brushing their children’s teeth with fluoride toothpaste as soon as the teeth start to show. Organizations like the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry have always recommended fluoride toothpaste use as soon as teeth are present.

What Does Fluoride Do?

Fluoride’s main benefit is its ability to strengthen tooth enamel as well as prevent tooth decay. Fluoride also helps protect teeth against acid attacks. Acid attacks result from a diet high in sugar and eventually lead to tooth decay and cavities.

What’s the Fear?

A common fear associated with exposing children to fluoride is fluorosis. Fluorosis is a condition that causes the enamel of a tooth to change color as a result of too much fluoride. In extreme cases, fluorosis can cause physical damage to teeth. Recently, new research has surfaced that possibly links fluoride exposure to ADHD and other neurological conditions.

So, Is It Safe?

To put it simply, it just depends. Too much fluoride could possibly lead to physical damage to your children’s teeth. No fluoride at all could possibly lead to cavities and lots of pain for your child. A healthy balance is the best solution. Monitoring the sugar in your child’s diet is important. Instilling healthy behaviors like brushing your teeth and spitting rather than swallowing toothpaste is crucial as well. After talking with your child’s dentist, a healthy amount of fluoride won’t hurt.

Have Questions? Contact Us!

If you’re just not sure how to proceed, let us help you! Contact us today for questions about your child’s oral health or to schedule their cleaning appointment.