November 22, 2010 3:32 pm

Fluoride Drops

At Wesley’s six-month pediatrician appointment, upon noting his two new teeth, our doctor prescribed him some multi-vitamin drops containing fluoride. We were instructed to give him one dose per day.

Later that week, we picked up the prescription and I sat down to administer the drops. Being curious, Wesley opened his mouth and let me squirt the vitamins onto his tongue.

What ensued was the saddest, most horrible “This is foul! What are you doing to me?!” kind of face I have ever seen him make before or since. He closed his mouth and dutifully swallowed the vitamins, all while looking at me like I was the most cruel person he had ever encountered.

I then decided, hey! I wonder what this actually tastes like? I had tasted his (sugary, grape-flavored) generic Tylenol before giving it to him, why wouldn’t I have tasted the (not-sugary, purportedly cherry-flavored) vitamins?

HOLY LORD it was awful. Truly, truly awful. Like, swamp-water-infused-with-iron kind of awful. I felt so horrible about inflicting that filth on my defenseless baby and I haven’t given it to him since.

I am not really a firm believer in an infant’s need for fluoride anyway, but I am obviously not a doctor or a scientist. KellyMom tells me there’s no conclusive evidence that babies need fluoride supplements. Clearly my pediatrician thinks otherwise, or else he wouldn’t have prescribed them. I am pretty sure Portland does not fluoridate its water. We had invested in a water softener system┬ájust to make sure that our water is safe for drinking.

We do give him a vitamin D supplement when we remember, because it’s recommended for exclusively-breastfed babies and it’s colorless, flavorless, and basically unscented. The multivitamin+fluoride drops are none of those things.

I don’t think I’m harming him by not administering the drops, especially since children under 2 aren’t supposed to even be given fluoridated toothpaste, but… why would my Ped prescribe them if he didn’t think Wesley should have them? What to do?

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  • matt says:

    sounds like a job for wikipedia – and holy wow, the article has a sweet photo of purple crystal mineral fluorite, which is pretty cool looking.

    also, you could always call the doc up and chat about it – get them to sell it to you if you’d rather not just take their word. seems like a reasonable thing to do.

  • Melissa says:

    I wrote a comment a few hours ago and it apparently didn’t go through. Basically, my son has had teeth since a little before 4 months and his ped didn’t prescribe the fluoride drops until he was like 7 months (he probably had 6 teeth by then). We had problems at the pharmacy with getting them. At first they had them, then they didn’t, then they ordered them, then we found out the order didn’t come in. It was taking so long that we completely forgot about them. I’m sorry I don’t have any advice about it, but I’m glad you reminded me because I need to look more into it, too! Just reading about Wesley’s reaction, I think getting these drops into Andrew’s mouth will be a huge fight! I guarantee everything will be spit out as soon as it hits his tongue!

  • Charlie says:

    There’s a reason it says on toothpaste not to swallow it and that’s because consumption of fluoride is dangerous, it can lead to brittle bones and destroy your teeth. Not always, of course, but the risk is there.

    Your doctor is very unlikely to tell you about it. I’d recommend doing some research into the negatives of it.

  • the grumbles says:

    so… our doctor also prescribed the vitamin d drops, however ours AREN’T tasteless. i did the same thing you did with the fluoride. i gave them to him once and… never again.

    maybe that’s not a good thing to admit, but i try to make sure that *i* get extra vitamin d and that way it will just pass through the milk, and we spend time outside. and i still tell our doctor he takes those damned drops. you’re the parents, you guys get to make the call with what you’re comfortable with, right or wrong.

  • Jem says:

    It’s always interesting, finding out how things are done on the other side of the world. We don’t get fluoride supplements here, but our baby toothpaste has it in, & it’s in much smaller amounts than adult toothpaste.

    re: the vit D thing… if you live somewhere that gets sufficient sun, and eat a vit D rich diet, you don’t need to supplement that :) It’s not that exBM babes need it in as much as *nearly everyone’s* diets/lifestyles are deficient these days. There’s some interesting studies on it out there.

  • Meggan says:

    Jem – Portland is the land of overcast skies (we get a grand total of 68 clear days per year) so I am on board with the vitamin D drops. I take them too, sometimes. I feel like the potential benefits of those outweigh any risks, plus they’re so inoffensive that they’re easy to administer and I don’t feel guilty about it.

    The fluoride drops are another matter entirely. I don’t want him to have bad teeth (though I know this is largely genetic) but that stuff is seriously foul and if I don’t have to give it to him, I don’t want to.

    This is probably the sort of thing where most normal people would call their ped to have him/her clarify, huh?

  • Jem says:

    I can’t believe you know how many clear days you have a year, haha ;)

    This is the part where I confess I never check with HCPs about things like vitamins etc because they all say different things. I kinda make it up as I go along and hope for the best ;D