Groups like the American Dental Association and American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry just love fluoride, claiming that it is “effective” in preventing tooth decay. But thanks to a new review commissioned by the ADA Council on Scientific Affairs and published in their own journal, JADA, when it comes to children, they may need to start changing their tune, and fast.

After reviewing the 20 reports from 12 trials that met their criteria for inclusion, the authors conclude:

Regarding children aged 3 years to younger than 6 years, there is inconsistent and weak evidence regarding the effectiveness of [fluoride] supplements on primary teeth and permanent teeth.

Repeat: In children 6 years old or younger, there is little evidence that fluoride supplements help fight cavities. It does, however, increase the risk of the child developing fluorosis, particularly amongst the youngest of children.

For older kids, the authors found some evidence of effectiveness, with a lower risk of fluorosis. However, in discussing the quality of evidence, they give an important caveat:


One consistent finding among the majority of the studies on fluoride supplements is the subjects’ low rates of compliance. The high rates at which participants withdrew from these studies overall raise a concern about the utility of advocating for this preventive regimen, which requires daily commitment from caregivers.

Could this mark the beginning of the end of the ADA’s blanket endorsement of fluoride? Stay tuned…

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7 responses to “Little Proof that Fluoride Is Effective for Kids 6 and Under, Says New JADA Study”

  1. […] Journal of the American Dental Association (a big-time fluoride supporter) tells us that there is scant evidence that fluoride supplementation helps prevent cavities in children, and even as sealants have been shown to contain BPA and may […]

  2. […] and other caregivers – there’s far too much promotion of fluoride, even in the wake of the JADA study showing weak evidence of benefit in giving fluoride to young kids – of course we’re all for promoting better oral health and hygiene for children. Instilling […]

  3. […] April 17, 2009 by The Verigin Dental Health Team The American Dental Association has a bit of a track record of supporting dental procedures – the use of mercury fillings, fluoride, sealants – that have been shown to be potentially hazardous and, at best, only minimally effective. What’s especially stunning is when studies highlighting this fact show up in JADA, the organization’s own publication – such as last year’s review showing that fluoride treatments don’t do much to reduce the risk of cavities in young kids but do increase their risk of developing fluorosis. (You can read our comment on this study here.) […]

  4. […] “Healthy reality”? Even research published by the orthodox American Dental Association has shown that supplemental fluoride offers little or no protection against caries (cavities) in children. […]

  5. […] Knowing that children’s dental health and hygiene matters is one thing, but how to instill good dental habits is quite another – one we’ve written about previously. Cookie Magazine offers some great tips and answers to common questions parents have about primary tooth care and dental health. (Hat tip to Stephanie!) We especially appreciate the author’s not waving the fluoride flag, though she does note that some dentists continue to recommend it. We do not. And indeed, research published in the thoroughly mainstream Journal of the American Dental Association shows that fluoride is of little benefit to kids under the age of 6. […]

  6. […] Little Proof that Fluoride Is Effective for Kids 6 and Under, Says New JADA Study […]

  7. […] that not only does supplemental fluoride not help (even the ADA’s own journal has published research casting doubt on this fluoride myth) but in fact may do […]

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