Can I Give My Infant Fluoride Drops?

Author: Posted: February 28th, 2022 Category:

Fluoride drops are a simple and safe way to make your child’s primary and permanent teeth stronger. Learn when and how to introduce them safely.

You’ve probably heard about the importance of fluoride when it comes to keeping your teeth healthy. But did you know that it can also be extremely beneficial for preventing tooth decay in infants and toddlers? Even though your child’s baby teeth will eventually fall out, it’s still important to keep their baby teeth healthy while they have them to prevent major long-term consequences. 

Fluoride drops are a simple and safe way to keep your infant’s tooth enamel strong. Read on to learn more about the benefits of fluoride drops and how to safely introduce fluoride to your child.

What is Fluoride?

Fluoride is a mineral that naturally occurs in everything from water and air to plants and rocks, but it can also be added to things like toothpaste and drinking water! Fluoride helps prevent tooth decay in humans by strengthening the enamel.

Because of its dental health benefits, fluoride comes in a variety of different forms designed to make it easy for everyone to get the fluoride they need. For older children and adults, the best ways to get supplemental fluoride are through toothpaste, gels, or mouth rinses. For smaller children — including infants — fluoride can be dispensed through drops added to water or another liquid and through supplemental tablets. 

The Benefits of Fluoride for Infants

As your child’s primary and permanent teeth develop, it is advantageous to keep enamel strong so the teeth don’t decay and fall out too early. 

While many infants live in areas where water already has fluoride in it, there often isn’t sufficient fluoride in the water alone. As such, fluoride drops are a great way to bridge that gap. These drops are particularly important for infants who live in areas where the water is unfluoridated and who will only get access to any fluoride through supplements. 

How to Introduce Fluoride to Infants

Infants younger than 6 months don’t typically need any fluoride at all. Once a baby reaches 6 months, it’s a good idea to talk to your pediatrician about fluoride supplements or fluoride drops. You should also speak to them about the amount of fluoride in your local water supply and whether it’s enough. Generally speaking, children aged 6 months to 3 years need 0.25mg of fluoride. Doctor recommendations can vary when it comes to introduction methods. Some may suggest introducing a fluoride toothpaste, which you can do by brushing your child’s new teeth with a dab the size of a grain of rice, while others may recommend you start with drops.

If you need fluoride drops, introducing them to your infant is easy. Like most “medications,” it’s best to give your child fluoride drops with their food to avoid upsetting their digestive system. In most cases you’ll only need to add drops to your child’s drink once a week. 

The Risks of Fluoride 

As with everything, there are some general risks to be aware of when it comes to introducing supplemental fluoride to your infant. Too much fluoride can be dangerous and even deadly in cases of extreme exposure (like consuming several tubes of toothpaste in a single session). However, instances of systemic toxicity are extremely rare when children are supervised properly. 

The most common risk from too much systemic fluoride is discoloration or pitting of permanent teeth. This is a result of enamel fluorosis, or when a child’s adult teeth become discolored. Fortunately, most cases of enamel fluorosis are mild and occur when children accidentally ingest too much toothpaste or mouthwash. Other temporary side effects include feeling ill with symptoms like nausea and vomiting that can last up to 24 hours. 

The best way to prevent all of these risks is by keeping toothpaste and mouthwash out of reach of small children. 

Should I Give My Child Fluoride?

The best way to determine whether you should give your child fluoride drops or other fluoride supplements is to speak with a dentist. 

Schedule an appointment at Espire’s Fort Collins location today! Our highly trained dentists can work with you to determine whether you should start giving your infant fluoride drops and offer guidance on doing so safely. Don’t live near our Fort Collins, CO office? Find one of our other locations near you

Fort Collins
2117 Custer Dr
Fort Collins, CO 80525