Are You a Mom-to Be? Should You Take Fluoride? The Novato Family Dentist Answers your Questions

Written by Dr. McConnell on May 9, 2017

Mother’s Day is almost here, and it’s an especially meaningful day for all the beautiful moms-to-be! There’s a lot to think about, but your focus is on what you do to your body now that can have an impact on your baby’s health.

The benefits of fluoride are well known as studies have shown fluoridation of community water has reduced tooth decay by at least 25%. Beyond our drinking water fluoride supplements are also available.

For pregnant women, it is important to consult with your doctor and the Novato family dentist about fluoride to make sure to keep the baby and the mother healthy during this critical time.

How Does Fluoride Prevent Tooth Decay?

Fluoride is a natural mineral found throughout the earth’s crust and widely distributed in nature. Some foods and community water supplies contain fluoride.

Fluoride helps prevent cavities in two different ways:

  1. Fluoride concentrates in the growing bones and developing teeth of children, helping to harden the enamel on baby and adult teeth before they erupt.
  2. Fluoride helps to harden the enamel on adult teeth that have already erupted. Fluoride works during the natural process of building up (remineralization) and breaking down (demineralization) the enamel of our teeth.

After eating a meal, your saliva contains acids that cause demineralization (dissolving of the calcium and phosphorous under the tooth’s surface). At other times during the day, when your saliva is less acidic, replenishing the calcium and phosphorous that keep your teeth hard.

This process is caused remineralization. When fluoride is present during remineralization, the minerals deposited are harder than they would otherwise be, helping to strengthen your teeth and prevent breakdown during the next demineralization period.

Is It Safe For Women To Take Fluoride Supplements During Pregnancy?

NO! Currently, there is no evidence to show any benefit to the developing baby’s teeth. In fact, they can be hazardous to the baby’s developing teeth. Fluoride supplements can cross the placenta and be ingested by the baby, possibly leading to dental fluorosis (a disturbance of dental enamel caused by excessive exposure fluoride during tooth development).

If you’re pregnant or planning to become pregnant, please contact the Novato family dentist to arrange an appointment. We will work with your obstetrician to make sure that your treatment is safe for both you and your baby.