Dentists have long claimed that fluoride is an essential element for healthy teeth. For thirty years, toothpaste and tap water in many states have been supplemented with fluoride to prevent cavities, and over that time there has been a steady decrease in tooth decay. However, there is no conclusive evidence to show whether this improvement is due mainly to water fluoridation or to better hygiene and nutrition.
What everyone does agree on is that too much fluoride is detrimental. In excess it can actually stain or damage teeth. Fluoride supplementation is not currently recommended for babies under six months of age. From six months on, the amount in tap water suffices if Lucy drinks water and you live in an area where the water is fluorinated. If not, your doctor will prescribe vitamin drops that contain fluoride or recommend bottled waters that are specifically reinforced with the element.
When children start brushing their teeth, they get plenty of fluoride from toothpaste and therefore no longer require supplementation. Be careful that Jimmy doesn’t overdose on fluoride by eating your toothpaste as if it were candy. That is why you should buy him a children’s formulation, which will have the appropriate fluoride concentration.