The authors could find only one study, from China, showing any fluoride cavity-preventing benefit to primary teeth and that study was probably biased with a high withdrawal rate, the authors write.
Mild -to-moderate dental fluorosis (white spotted and/or yellow teeth) is a significant fluoride supplement side effect, they report.
Fluoride supplements, although a prescription drug, were never FDA [Food and Drug Administration] tested for safety or effectiveness because sodium fluoride was on the market pre-1938 before FDA testing laws were enacted. (1)
In 2007, the American Dental Association (ADA) reported on its web site that fluoride supplements put children six and under at significant risk of permanently discolored teeth; but never shared that information with the American public, pediatricians or MD's who still prescribe fluoride supplements to toddlers. (2)
"This review confirmed that, in non-fluoridated communities, the use of fluoride supplements during the first 6 years of life is associated with a significant increase in the risk of developing dental fluorosis, write researchers Ismail & Bandekar and first published in Community Dentistry and Oral Epidemiology, February 1999, (3) but posted to the ADA's website July 2007.
Fluoride supplements sought to achieve a similar effect as fluoridation of the water supplies when it was believed that ingested fluoride reduced tooth decay. However, the Centers for Disease Control now reports that fluoride's purported beneficial effects are topical (4). Swallowing fluoride only exposes children to fluoride's adverse health effects ( www.FluorideAction.Net/health ), such as dental fluorosis.
"So there is no good reason to swallow fluoride via supplements or the water supply," says attorney Paul Beeber, President, New York State Coalition Opposed to Fluoridation, Inc. "Further, fluoride is neither a nutrient nor required for healthy teeth. Poor diets decay teeth and fluoride won't stop that," says Beeber.
Even the American Dental Association admits that no fluoride supplements should be prescribed to children who aren't at high risk of cavities.
Studies link dental fluorosis to children's kidney damage (5) and bone fractures (6).
"While fluoride ingestion is proclaimed a significant cavity reducer, there is no valid science to support that," says Beeber.
Up to 48% of school children sport dental fluorosis, the outward sign of fluoride toxicity, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). (7) Yet tooth decay is growing in our most fluoride-exposed population - toddlers, according to CDC data.
In the Fall 1999 Journal of Public Health Dentistry, dental researcher and former dental journal editor Brian A. Burt, Ph.D., M.P.H., B.D.Sc., University of Michigan Emeritus Professor, writes:
"It is therefore concluded that the risks of using supplements in infants and young children outweigh the benefits. Because alternative forms of fluoride for high-risk individuals exist, fluoride supplements should no longer be used for young children in North America."(8)
Even fluoridated toothpaste hasn't been proven to prevent toddlers' cavities. According to the June 2009 JADA (9) Only one study shows 1,450 parts per million fluoridated toothpaste is effective in primary dentition; but 25 - 35% of the test subjects developed fluorosis although living in a non-water-fluoridated area of England. (10)
Doubts persist about fluoridation also: "It may...be that fluoridation of drinking water does not have a strong protective effect against early childhood caries (ECC) reported Pollick and colleagues in the Winter 2003 Journal of Public Health Dentistry.
Casamassimo and colleagues report in the June 2009 JADA that high levels of ECC persist despite water fluoridation and use of fluoridated toothpaste. (11)
A study in the Fall 2008 Journal of Public Health Dentistry reveals that cavity-free teeth have little to do with fluoride intake. Researchers report, "The benefits of fluoride are mostly topical…while fluorosis is clearly more dependent on fluoride intake."
"Fluoridation began with the untested belief that ingested fluoride prevented tooth decay in small children, only. Evidence-based-dentistry now shows that swallowing fluoride poses dental risks without benefits to the very children fluoridation was supposed to help," says Beeber. Fluoridation must be stopped immediately and parents and physicians must be notified of these new scientific developments."
References: Web Link