Does Your Child Need Fluoride Supplements

Does My Child Require Additional Fluoride?

You should speak with your child's dentist and/or paediatrician on the subject of giving your child additional supplements containing fluoride. Fluoride supplements are usually suggested if you live in a community in which your water supply does not contain adequate levels of fluoride to aid with teeth development.

So, what are the appropriate fluoride levels?

Below is a table that can be used as a guide for whether children will require supplements containing fluoride.

Child's Age
Level of fluoride ion in drinking water as ppm < 6 months old 6 months - 3 years old 3 years - 6 years old 6 years to 16 years old
< 0.3 ppm No Supplementation 0.25 mg daily 0.5 mg daily 1.0 mg daily
0.3-0.6 ppm No Supplementation No Supplementation No Supplementation 0.25 mg daily
> 0.6 ppm No Supplementation No Supplementation No Supplementation No Supplementation

For reference:

1 ppm equals 1 mg per 1 L. water
1 ppm equals 0.5 mg per 16 oz. water
1 ppm equals 0.25 mm per 8 oz. water
1 gram of toothpaste that contains fluoride has approximately 1 mg of fluoride

Is My Drinking Water Fluoridated?

The best way to find out if the drinking water that you use contains fluoride is by contacting your local water company, district where you live, or local government.

If you are drinking water from a well or cistern, you can contact your local community department of health or your state government to obtain a list of certified laboratories that will test the well water. These laboratories usually charge anywhere from 20-40 dollars per water sample.

Besides the drinking water from your home, you should also be aware of how much water your child drinks from different sources, such as their school or day care, and/or friends or relatives homes. Food and beverages of different types also contain fluoride.

Bottled water usually does not include fluoride. But there are some that do and are for children.

Can You Get Too Much Fluoride?

There is a possibility of ingesting extra fluoride for different sources. When this occurs it results in fluorosis, which is visible on the teeth. Fluorosis causes white, gray, brown and/or black streaks or spots on the teeth depending of the extent of the fluorosis. Pits and bumps on the teeth have also been seen.

The number of pills or liquid are limited by the dentist to lower the danger of overdosing, so do not hoard these fluoride supplements. If there are any questions about the risks of fluoride, you should contact your child's dentist or doctor.

Fluoride toxicity is usually based upon your child's body weight. The following examples have been included: 1) The toxic dose for a two year old child that weighs 22 lbs. equals 320 mgs; and, 2) the toxic dose for an eight year old child who weighs 22 lbs. equals 655 mgs. Usually, eight ounces of fluoride-containing drinking water contains approximately 0.25 mgs. For this reason, if fluoride-containing products or supplements are used in small amounts, the chances of receiving a toxic amount of fluoride is very slim!