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Fluoride and Infants

Recently there has been much discussion in the dental community about whether or not infants should be given fluoride supplements and what to do about infants who are under 12 months of age consuming fluoridated water.

At this time, fluoride is not recommended for newborn children in the form of supplements or fluoridated drinking water. Evidence is now suggestion that fluoride ingestion during the first year of life is linked to dental fluorosis.

Dental fluorosis is not a dangerous condition but it will cause stains on the teeth that are difficult to cover up. Because of this and the lack of demonstrated benefit for infants who do not yet have teeth, the American Dental Association has recommended that children who are under 12 months old do not consume fluoridated water and babies who are under 6 months do not need fluoride supplements.

Prior to this new recommendation, parents were typically told to start supplementing babies who were 6 months old with fluoride if they were not getting it from their drinking water. But with the introduction of fluoride toothpaste and fluoridated drinking water, children should get enough fluoride when they begin to get their teeth in. Studies clearly show that cavities in children have gone down since fluoride has been added to toothpaste and drinking water.

Even if your baby does not need fluoride until his teeth begin to arrive, it is important that you are aware as a parent of the things you need to do to make sure your baby has a healthy smile.

Dentists recommend children see a dentist within 6 months of getting their first tooth or by 12 months old. Take care of your baby’s new teeth from the start by gently brushing. There are small, soft toothbrushes available made just for babies.

Be sure your child is getting proper nutrition. Vitamin D and Calcium are an important part of a healthy diet that will keep your child’s teeth and gums in good shape. Call your dentist if you have any questions about how to care for your baby’s new teeth.

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