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Should You Give Your Baby Fluoride Supplements or Nursery Water?

Cleaning baby’s teeth is very important, not just to get them clean after mealtimes, but to set a good example, and hopefully encourage good dental hygiene for the rest of their lives.

Your baby’s pediatrican may also recommend Nursery Water, water for babies and toddlers with fluoride added, or fluoride supplements, like my son’s doctor did.

Fluoride has long been know to reduce tooth decay in people who drink fluoridated water, but not without controversy. Opponents disagree with mass-medication, and there being no way to avoid fluoridated water other than buying pricey bottled water. Critics of fluoridated water say that tooth decay can be totally prevented with good dental care: brushing teeth, and seeing a dentist regularly.

And too much fluoride can be very bad. Too much causes discolored, brittle teeth, and over time, causes bone damage too. And most worrying of all, a recent Harvard study showed boys who drink fluoridated water have a much higher risk of developing devastating bone cancer.

And what about babies who drink formula? If the water used to make formula is fluoridated, they have no choice but to drink it. (Is there fluoride in your city water? It varies across the country. If you google “city water” plus the name of your town or city, you should get the city’s water department website, which will tell you the amount of fluoride in the water, and whether any more is added.)

So is it a good idea to add fluoride, from Nursery Water or supplements, to your baby’s diet?

In the city where I live, fluoride is added to the city water. So this mom is not adding any more fluoride to my son’s diet. Rather, I’m trying to encourage good tooth brushing, limit sugar, and set a good example of dental care myself.

So what should you do if you are concerned about fluoride, and your baby’s doctor recommends Nursery Water or fluoride supplements? Moms who have most reason to be concerned are those formula-feeding and your city water is already fluoridated. Ask the pediatrician them exactly why they are recommending those products, and what they believe the health benefits to your baby will be.

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