Baby's health children's health

Too Much Fluoride?

Are our children getting too much fluoride? It is being added to our water and toothpastes are loaded with it. It is alright for adults, but children can get too much, which makes their teeth look spotty and sometimes weaken.

Fluoride is a mineral found in nature. There is fluoride in the ocean, in the earth’s crust and in fresh water. Fluoride works by making the outer layer of teeth (called tooth enamel) stronger. When the outer layer is strong, teeth are less likely to get cavities.

Adding fluoride to the water is the best way to provide fluoride protection to a large number of people at a low cost. That’s why many towns and cities put fluoride in the water in a controlled manner. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control recently named fluoridation of drinking water one of the 10 most successful public health measures in this century. Canadian Dental Association

Dental fluorosis occurs when white specks appear on a child’s teeth and is the result of a child getting too much fluoride. There is recent evidence that dental fluorosis among children is increasing. Most dental fluorosis is mild and barely visible.

Moderate to severe fluorosis readily takes up stain, creating permanent brown and black discolorations of the teeth. Dental fluorosis is not health threatening. It is mainly a cosmetic condition. In more severe cases, it can be easily treated by the dentist.

As a result of the staining and crumbling of enamel, children with moderate to severe dental fluorosis can suffer a great deal of social embarrassment and pyschological stress – with a corresponding loss in self-esteem.

A new fluoridated toothpaste guideline is only one step towards fixing the problem. As follows:

  • Children Age 1-2 should only use a slight smear of toothpaste
  • Children age 3-5 should only use 1/2 of a pea-size amount of toothpaste
  • Children Age 6 and older should only use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste
    • always supervise the amount of toothpaste used
    • teach your child to spit after brushing
    • help your child brush until 8 years of age

There are also non-fluoridated tooth pastes which are recommended for use before the age of 6. Burts Bees is the one I like the best – they also make one for children. has posted the results of a study, done at Harvard, that finds a strong link between fluoridated water and bone cancer in boys.

The study, led by Dr. Elise Bassin and published online today in Cancer Causes and Control, the official journal of the Harvard Center for Cancer Prevention, found a strong link between fluoridated drinking water and osteocarcoma, a rare and often fatal bone cancer, in boys. The study confirms studies by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the New Jersey health department that also found increased rates of bone cancer in boys who drank fluoridated tap water.

Bassin’s study comes on the heels of a National Academy of Sciences (NAS) report that found the federal “safe” limit for fluoride in tap water did not protect children from dental fluorosis or increased bone fractures. The NAS recommended that the allowable limit for fluoride in tap water be lowered immediately.

“This study raises very serious concerns about fluoride’s safety and its potential to cause bone cancer in teenage boys,” said Richard Wiles, EWG’s senior vice president. “The findings raise fundamental questions about the wisdom of adding fluoride to tap water.”



About the author

Lisa Arneill

Mom of 2 boys and founder of and World Traveled Family. When I'm not running around after my boys, I'm looking for our next vacation spot!

1 Comment

  • America’s children are fluoride-overdosed; it’s ruining
    their teeth. And cavities are still increasing. Researchers advise
    cutting back on fluoride.

    Besides, “according to the 1993-1994 California Oral Health Needs
    Assessment, “water fluoridation status of the children’s area of
    residence did not have a significant effect on ECC (early childhood
    caries)…” (14)

    After 60 years of water fluoridation reaching 2/3 of Americans on
    public water supplies and virtually 100% via the food supply, tooth
    decay is a growing epidemic according to a federal study. (15)

    The Centers for Disease Control reports from 1/3 to 1/2 of U.S.
    schoolchildren sport dental fluorosis1 – white-spotted, discolored
    and/or sometimes pitted teeth, caused by fluoride over-ingestion –
    whether their water is fluoridated or not.

    The Academy of General Dentistry advises against fluoridated water for
    infant formula or food preparation because many studies show this ups
    children’s fluorosis risk.2

    The U.S. Surgeon General reports that excessive fluoride increases
    susceptibility to cavities.3

    To avoid crippling skeletal fluorosis, the Environmental Protection
    Agency sets 4 parts per million (ppm) or 4 milligrams per quart of
    water as fluoride’s maximum contaminant level.4

    The Iowa Fluoride Study’s principal investigator, Steven Levy, found
    that some babies exceed that level daily. Furthermore, Levy found 90%
    of 3-month-olds consumed over their recommended fluoride levels.5

    Levy et al. report, “There is no specific nutritional requirement for
    fluoride…given the increased prevalence of fluorosis, it may be
    necessary to revise downwards the adequate intake levels of

    Levy also found:

    – 77% of soft drinks had fluoride levels greater than 0.60 ppm

    – two ounces of baby chicken food provides baby’s maximum dose

    – foods high in fluoride – teas, dry infant cereals, dried
    chicken, and seafood

    – grape juice, especially white, contains very high fluoride

    – 42% of juice and juice drinks tested revealed unlabeled fluoride
    levels greater than 0.60 ppm

    – cereals processed in fluoridated areas contain from 3.8 to 6.3
    ppm fluoride

    The USDA provides a database of fluoride contents of food

    Reports that bottled-water drinkers risk more cavities are
    unsubstantiated. The Wall Street Journal reported, “Little research
    has been done on the use of bottled water and risk of tooth decay,
    dental experts concede.6″ UPI wrote: “(P)ublished literature shows
    little cause for alarm.7″ Australians drinking fluoridated or
    non-fluoridated water have similar cavity rates.8

    “Fluoride ingestion, whether through tap or bottled water, delivers
    health risks without benefits, says Paul Beeber, President, New York
    State Coalition Opposed to Fluoridation.. “I urge Dentists to read the
    mounting scientific literature indicating fluoride’s harm and
    ineffectiveness and not remain fluoride-misinformed.”

    Adequate daily intake of fluoride from all sources, according to the
    Institute of Medicine, in order to avoid moderate fluorosis9, which the
    ADA describes as “All tooth surfaces affected; marked wear on biting
    surfaces; brown stain may be present10:”

    · infants up to 6 months old – less than 0.01 mg
    · babies from 6 – 12 months – less than 0.5 mg
    · children from 1 to 3 years old – less than 0.7 mg
    · children from 4 to 8 years old – less than 1 mg

    In 2003 the Center for Science in the Public Interest criticized the
    American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) for “selling out” to the
    Coca-Cola company by accepting a $1 million grant from the company that
    produces cavity causing beverages.11 On January 31, 2006, the AAPD
    helped Coca-Cola launch their new product – fluoridated bottled water –
    in a joint news release which says, “The awareness campaign recognizes
    that children in the United States may not be getting enough

    There is no evidence that US children do not get “enough” fluoride.

    After 60 years of water fluoridation reaching about 2/3 of Americans on
    public water supplies and virtually 100% via the food supply along with
    increased sales of fluoridated dental products, tooth decay in America
    is still an epidemic, not because of lack of fluoride; but possibly
    from a fluoride glut and mostly from dentists unwilling or unable to
    treat low-income people.

    The U.S. General Accounting Office (GAO) reported that 80 percent of
    tooth decay is found in just 25 percent of the children, most of whom
    are from low-income families. 13 The U.S. Surgeon General reports that
    80% of dentists refuse Medicaid patients.

    SOURCE: New York State Coalition Opposed to Fluoridation


    1) Beltrán-Aguilar et al. Surveillance for Dental Caries, Dental
    Sealants, Tooth Retention, Edentulism and Enamel Fluorosis – United
    States, 1988-1994 and 1999-2002. MMWR. CDC August 26, 2005

    Tara Parker-Pope. Wall Street Journal. “Some Young Children Get Too
    Much Fluoride,” December 21, 1998

    2) Monitor Infant’s Fluoride Intake. News Release. Academy of General
    Dentistry, Accessed January 31, 2005

    3) U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Oral Health in
    America: A Report of the Surgeon General. Released in 2000; Page 203

    4) Office of Water, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. 2004 Edition
    of the Drinking Water Standards and Health Advisories. Washington DC.
    Winter 2004

    5) “Current and future role of fluoride in nutrition,” Warren & Levy,
    Dental Clinics of North America 47(2003)

    6) Betsy McKay. Bottled Water and Tooth Decay: Kids May Not Be Getting
    Enough Fluoride. Wall Street Journal. January 24, 2006

    7) Joe Grossman. Bottled water not affecting tooth decay. UPI Science
    News, May 30, 2002

    8) Community Dentistry and Oral Epidemiology, August 2004 Consumption
    of nonpublic water: implications for children’s caries experience,
    by Armfield JM, Spencer AJ.

    9) Food and Nutrition Board, Institute of Medicine. Fluoride. Dietary
    Reference Intakes: Calcium, Phosphorus, Magnesium, Vitamin D, and
    Fluoride. Washington D.C.: National Academy Press; 1997:288-313

    10) American Dental Association, Fluoridation Facts 2005






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