Does my Child Need Fluoridated Water?

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  • Written By: wiseGEEK Writer
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 20 December 2018
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Fluoridated water, which has fluoride added, has been shown to decrease cavities in children. However, most experts don’t believe it is necessary to drink fluoridated water in order to get the benefits of fluoride. A child who brushes his or her teeth regularly, and swallows a small amount of toothpaste with fluoride, is likely to get needed amounts of fluoride. Further, if one doesn’t wish to use fluoridated toothpaste, many pediatricians prescribe fluoride supplements.

Fluoride most benefits children’s teeth, and it is unclear what the benefits of drinking fluoridated are for adults. In fact, fluoridated water in large amounts can be harmful. Fluoride in larger amounts is a corrosive poison, like many medications. Not all dentists or members of the American Dental Association (ADA) support programs to help cities or counties supply fluoridated water. In fact, some dentists are vigorously opposed to fluoridated water.

Several other medical organizations also oppose fluoridated water because of its possible long-term health risks. These include the American Cancer Society, the American Heart Foundation and the American Academy of Allergy and Immunology. Those who oppose using fluoridated water tend to feel that adding fluoride to water is a form of mass medication that is involuntary on the part of all who must use the water supply. It leaves the water consumer with little choice as to whether or not to use fluoride.


Opponents cite examples of past accidents where too much fluoride has contaminated the water supply, caused poisoning and illness to some. This makes many feel that it is simply not worth the risk of adding fluoride to water, even if the water has what are deemed as safe levels of fluoride. Further, children who need fluoride can get it through inexpensive supplementation, so there is no need for all people to drink fluoridated water.

Proponents for continuing fluoridated water programs believe that eliminating fluoride from water supply risks the long-term dental health of many children. Parents may not seek regular medical care for their children, which may cause epidemic levels of tooth decay, especially among the poor.

It cannot be conclusively said that children need fluoridated water. Most dentists agree, however, that children should probably get fluoride through supplements or toothpaste to promote good oral health, when the water supply is not fluoridated.



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Post 1

To limit the amount of fluoride they ingest, small children should be monitored so not too much of toothpaste ends up on their toothbrush, and that most of it is not swallowed.

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