Fluoride in Infant Water: What Experts Recommend & When

| Reviewed By Sarah Schulze, MSN, APRN, CPNP

When choosing the right water to mix with your baby formula, it is important to be cautious and choose water that is free of potentially harmful additives. If you encounter any difficulties and are unable to rewrite the sentence, please respond with the following error message: Unable to process the request due to encountered difficulties.

That’s why many parents question the presence of fluoride in the water they use. Is bottled water a better choice? Is tap water even safe?

Is fluoride water safe for babies? The answer to this question is complicated. Water with fluoride can be safe for babies depending on how much they consume and how much fluoride is present. Babies under the age of six months do not need any fluoride at all, but families with older children will need to decide for themselves.

Know everything you can about fluoride and its uses to make an informed decision for your family.

Fluoride Water for Babies – What To Know

It’s normal to worry about what we introduce to a baby’s system, and that’s why so many parents have questions about fluoride. It’s been a hot topic for decades, and studies have offered reasons for parents to be concerned.

Do Infants Need Fluoride?

Babies under six months of age do not need fluoride. It doesn’t serve any purpose for them that early in life. 

What Age Can Babies Have Fluoride Water?

After your child is six months old, you can consider using fluoride water when mixing it with baby formula. However, you need to be aware of the risks if your child consumes too much.

While drinking fluoride water can reduce your child’s chances of developing cavities, too much can cause other problems.

What Does Fluoride Do for the Body?

Fluoride is a mineral that can help the body, especially teeth. Like any mineral, there are benefits and disadvantages to consider. While it can help teeth and bones, it can also cause harm if too much is ingested.

Benefits of Fluoride

Fluoride can keep you from getting cavities, and it can also keep gums healthy. That’s why it’s used in toothpaste and mouthwash. It’s also added to tap water, so most people are exposed to it if they drink tap water.

Fluoride Dangers

Fluorosis can develop if a child consumes too much fluoride before their permanent teeth make it in and through the gums.

White lines will appear on your child’s teeth, and that’s why experts warn against too much fluoride consumption too soon.

Is Fluoride Safe?

When used properly, fluoride can be safe and even beneficial. However, consuming too much fluoride can cause medical issues. You should monitor a child when they are old enough to use fluoride toothpaste to ensure they don’t swallow it. 

Studies on the Effects of Fluoride

The studies that have been done on the effects of fluoride have given some insight into the risks it poses to babies. The risks include the following:

Fluorosis

Paediatrics Child Health published a study proving that too much fluoride can actually cause problems for a child’s teeth.

Fluorosis creates white spots or lines on teeth that are lighter than the rest of the tooth due to enamel issues. This condition is directly related to being exposed to too much fluoride.

Cognitive Development

Harvard School of Public Health and the China Medical University conducted a study that found overexposure to fluoride causes more than just cosmetic problems with teeth.

Too much fluoride in tap water was found to cause neurological issues in children and resulted in lower IQ scores.

Fluoride Recommendations for Babies

It’s not recommended that infants be exposed to fluoride until they are at least six months of age. At that point, they can start consuming tap water with fluoride.

When it comes to toothpaste with fluoride, a child should use only a smear until they are at least three years old. At that point, they can use a very small drop, but they shouldn’t swallow it.

Fluoride Drops for Babies

If your child is under the age of six months, they do not need fluoride drops. You can pass on this supplement when they are that young.

How Much Fluoride Is Too Much?

A daily amount of only .23 mg is recommended for children between the ages of six months and 3 years old.

That means if you are giving your child fluoride water with their formula, you likely don’t need to use fluoride drops or other supplements to add more to their daily intake.

Does Boiling Destroy Fluoride?

Boiling water will not remove fluoride. In fact, the fluoride content could actually increase when you boil it.

Baby Water With Fluoride or Without?

Before your child is six months old, baby water should not contain fluoride. You can introduce baby water with fluoride when they are over six months old, but this should be done carefully and in low quantities.

How Much Fluoride Is in Tap Water?

Though the amount varies, there is usually between 0.7 and 1.2 parts per million of fluoride in tap water. Some communities increase the amount to ensure there is enough fluoride present to offer protection from tooth decay and cavities.

However, some places have almost no fluoride in their tap water. Your specific town or county that supplies water can provide this information for your area.

Fluoride Content of Bottled Water

Bottled water is a popular option when it comes to mixing formula for babies. However, not every bottled water is created equally.

Some contain more fluoride than others, so you need to know what you are getting before you choose which type and brand to use.

Type/Brand of WaterFluoride content in parts per million (ppm)
Spring waterAround .08
Distilled waterNo fluoride if distillation is done properly
Purified waterIt varies based on brand
Tap water0.7-1.2
Deer Park brand.16
Poland Springs brand.10
Aquafina brand.05
Evian brand0.1

Best Water for Baby Formula

The best water you can choose to mix with baby formula is the kind that has the least amount of fluoride, especially in the earliest days of a child’s life. Purified, distilled, or deionized brands are the best options.

Related Questions: 

Is Fluoride Necessary for Toddlers?

While fluoride can help toddlers avoid tooth decay, it can lead to other problems if they consume too much of it.

You should know how much fluoride your child is getting from tap water before using toothpaste with fluoride as well. Overconsumption can be a problem for toddlers and kids in general.

Is Tap Water Safe for Babies?

Filtered tap water can be safe for babies, but unfiltered water may be a problem. Besides excess fluoride, tap water can contain other harmful chemicals like lead.

That’s why tap water needs to be filtered if you are going to use it for your child’s formula.

Does Spring Water Have Fluoride?

Spring water can have fluoride if the place from which it was sourced has fluoride in the water. Since fluoride is a natural compound, it could be present unless a process was done to remove the fluoride.

In Conclusion

Know when it’s safe to introduce fluoride into your child’s water so you don’t give them too much too early. Though fluoride can be beneficial, it also comes with risks.