Fifty years ago you could have walked into a pharmacy and seen fluoride drops that were specifically targeted toward pregnant women. The packages claimed that fluoride drops, when taken during pregnancy would help keep their children cavity-free.
That all changed on October 20, 1966 when the FDA cracked down on the fluoride supplement makers. They banned them from making claims that fluoride would benefit unborn babies’ teeth due to a lack of clinical evidence to substantiate that claim.
Source: Food and Drug Administration: Statements of general policy or interpretation, oral prenatal drugs containing fluorides for human use. Fed Regist Oct. 20, 1966
You may be wondering what we’ve figured out in the past 50 years about taking fluoride supplements during pregnancy.
Should Women Take Fluoride Supplements During Pregnancy?
The answer is no — there is no evidence that taking fluoride supplements during pregnancy helps improve the baby’s chances of having healthier teeth.
Since fluoride supplements taken by the mother can cross the placenta, there is a chance that the well-meaning mother-to-be could actually cause their baby to get dental fluorosis.
The Evidence Against Taking Fluoride Supplements During Pregnancy
Here’s three different credible sources that all agree that there is no benefit derived from taking fluoride supplements during pregnancy.
A Clinical Trial
This clinical trial took 1400 pregnant women and divided them into two groups. One group received 1 mg of fluoride per day during the last six months of their pregnancy while the other group received a placebo. The kids were followed until age 5. No noticeable difference in the amount of cavities was noted between the two groups.
A Scholarly Article
This scholarly article from the journal Pediatric Dentistry states, “Although fluoride crosses the placenta, prescribing fluoride supplements to pregnant women is not recommended because there is little evidence that fluoride provided to the mother during pregnancy reduces caries prevalence in their offspring.
A Statement from the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry
This guideline from the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry states, “The AAPD does not support the use of prenatal fluoride supplements to benefit the fetus.”
Although 50 years ago many people thought that taking fluoride supplements during pregnancy was good for their baby’s teeth, it turns out that modern science has debunked that myth.
There is no reason to take fluoride supplements during pregnancy. And there’s actually a good reason not to: dental fluorosis.
Do you have any questions or thoughts regarding fluoride supplements and pregnancy? I’d love to hear what you have to say in the comments section below. Thanks for reading!