Does My Child Need Fluoride Supplements?

Parents who come to our pediatric dental office in Havertown often want to know if their children should be taking fluoride supplements. This is a legitimate concern since the community water supply does not have fluoride.

Before considering fluoride supplements for each child, we assist parents in determining two things: 1) A child’s risk of getting cavities. 2) If a child is getting fluoride through dietary sources.

How do we determine if a child has a high caries risk?

  • Parent has little or no involvement in brushing a child’s teeth twice daily
  • Parent has a history of dental cavities and/or abscess
  • If a child is experiencing dental cavities or white lines along the necks of the teeth

Dietary sources of fluoride:

  • Drinking water
  • Powdered and reconstituted infant formula
  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Beverages such as tea, soda, juices
  • Processed foods, especially canned fish

These determinations are best made during a child’s first dental visit at age 1 before cavities have a chance to form. Unless a child has high caries risk, most children do not need fluoride supplements. Brushing with appropriate amounts of fluoride toothpaste twice daily from when the first tooth emerges is sufficient in preventing tooth decay or cavities.

Appropriate mounts of fluoride toothpaste are; no more than a smear or “rice-grain” amount for a child less than 3 years of age and no more than a “pea-size” amount for a child age 3-6 years.

Eagle Crest Pediatric Dentistry

Board-Certified Doctors

Proudly serving Havertown and the surrounding areas of Ardmore, Haverford, Broomall, Newtown Square, Drexel Hill, Springfield, Clifton Heights, Bala Cynwyd, Lansdowne, Ridley Park, Woodlyn, Prospect Park, Bryn Mawr, Wynnewood, Overbrook, Holmes, Media, Darby, Folsom, Morton, Yeadon, Swarthmore, Wallingford.