My best friend is a dentist and after I had my children she mentioned, in passing, that fluoride wasn’t good for infants. She went on to tell me that babies do not need fluoride; especially before they have teeth.
Later, I did some more research to see why I should not give fluoride to my babies. During this time, I was also considering using bottled water and not filtered tap water when supplementing. Specifically, I was looking into using Nursery Water which contains added fluoride. Their target consumers are parents of newborn babies, so here are my reasons for not choosing to use Nursery Water.
According to the American Dental Association, “Infants less than one year old may be getting more than the optimal amount of fluoride (which may increase their risk of enamel fluorosis) if their primary source of nutrition is powdered or liquid concentrate infant formula mixed with water containing fluoride… If using a product that needs to be reconstituted, parents and caregivers should consider using water that has no or low levels of fluoride.”
The Journal of Public Health Dentistry reports, “Breastfeeding of infants should be encouraged, both for the many documented, general health benefits and the relative protection against ingestion of excessive fluoride from high quantities of intake of fluoridated water used to reconstitute concentrated infant formula early in infancy.”
Additionally, the Environmental Working States that “Like bones, a child’s teeth are alive and growing. Flourosis is the result of fluoride rearranging the crystalline structure of a tooth’s enamel as it is still growing. It is evidence of fluoride’s potency and ability to cause physiologic changes within the body, and raises concerns about similar damage that may be occurring in the bones.”
The Fluoride Action Network is on a campaign to limit the amounts of fluoride added to substances consumed by infants “Because of the risk for dental fluorosis, and the lack of demonstrable benefit from ingesting fluoride before teeth erupt, the American Dental Association – and a growing number of dental researchers – recommend that children under 12 months of age should not consume fluoridated water while babies under 6 months of age should not receive any fluoride drops or pills. Dental fluorosis is not the only risk from early-life exposure to fluoride. A recent review in The Lancet describes fluoride as “an emerging neurotoxic substance” that may damage the developing brain. The National Research Council has identified fluoride as an “endocrine disrupter” that may impair thyroid function, while recent research from Harvard University has found a possible connection between fluoride and bone cancer.”
These are just a few of the reasons why I chose not to use Nursery Water. I encourage you to research fluoride in infants and talk to your pediatrician about it, if you are concerned.
*SOURCES: American Dental Association (2006). Interim Guidance on Reconstituted Infant Formula. November 9, 2006. http://www.ada.org/1767.aspx
Levy SM, Kiritsy MC, Warren JJ. (1995). Sources of fluoride intake in children. Journal of Public Health Dentistry 55: 39-52.
Environmental Working Group, “National Academy Calls for Lowering Fluoride Limits in Tap Water”, March 22, 2006. http://www.ewg.org/release/national-academy-calls-lowering-fluoride-limits-tap-water
Fluoride Action Network, “HEALTH EFFECTS: Fluoride Warnings for Infants”, http://www.fluoridealert.org/health/infant/#recs