Infant Formula Contains Fluoride at Tooth-Discoloring Levels

October 22, 2009

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Another reason to breastfeed your baby. While breastmilk does contain some fluoride, infant formula contains far more, and apparently, in amounts that are likely to cause damage to developing teeth.

Baby Formula under 24 hour video surveillance
Creative Commons License photo credit: Roebot

All Infant Formula Contains Fluoride at Tooth-Discoloring Levels

New York – October 21, 2009 – All infant formulas, whether ready-to-feed, concentrated or organic, contain fluoride at levels which can discolor developing teeth, reports the October 2009 Journal of the American Dental Association (JADA) (1).

Fluoride, added to some bottled and public water supplies ostensibly to prevent cavities, is also in many foods and beverages, including infant formula. Excessive fluoride discolors and/or weakens permanent teeth (moderate fluorosis).

Researchers measured fluoride content of 49 infant formulas.  See:

The research team concludes, “Most infants from birth to age 12
months who consume predominantly powdered and liquid concentrate formula are likely to exceed the upper tolerable limit [of fluoride] if the formula is reconstituted with optimally fluoridated water (0.7 – 1.2 ppm).”

Surprisingly, the study reveals that all 6-month-olds and younger will also exceed the lower “adequate intake” (0.01 mg/day) from all formulas concentrated or not) risking moderate dental fluorosis from formula, alone. (2)

Breast milk contains about 250 times less fluoride than “optimally”uoridated water and isn’t linked to fluorosis.

“Babies don’t need fluoride and fluoride ingestion doesn’t reduce tooth decay,” says attorney Paul Beeber, President, New York State Coalition Opposed to Fluoridation, Inc. “So why are US babies still exposed to unnecessary fluoride chemicals via the water and food supplies and why aren’t parents informed of the consequences?” asks Beeber.

Up to 48% of school children have fluorosed teeth – 4% severe, reports the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) (3).

Both the CDC and the American Dental Association’s web sites advise parents to avoid mixing fluoridated water into concentrated infant formula, but they have never effectively broadcast this information to parents or the media (4,5).

A review of human studies by different researchers published in JADA (July 2009) concluded, “Our systematic review indicated that the consumption of infant formula [concentrated and ready-to-feed] is, on average, associated with an increased risk of developing at least some detectable level of enamel fluorosis.” (6)

“Parents, protect your children since dental and government agencies won’t. Petition local and state legislators to stop adding unnecessary and harmful fluoride chemicals into public water supplies and, thereby, into our food supply,” says Beeber. “Further, demand that the fluoride content of all food products be required on labels.”

Researchers agree that infant formula levels should be lowered.

“One interpretation of the available evidence would be that public health officials should create guidelines for infant formula consumption ensuring that the upper intake level established by the Institute of Medicine… is not
exceeded. Another approach would be to strive for ‘biological normality’ and to strive for fluoride levels observed in breast milk,” write Hujoel et al. in “Infant Formula and Enamel Fluorosis: A Systematic Review. (6)

A recent investigation by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) found that over-exposure to fluoride among infants is a widespread problem in most major American cities. EWG’s study found that, on any given day, up to 60% of formula-fed babies in US cities were exceeding the Institute of Medicine’s “upper tolerable” limit for fluoride. (6a)

In 2004, fluoride researcher Dr. Teresa A. Marshall told Reuters Health, “Very young infants are unlikely to benefit from the caries-prevention effects of fluoride…They may be at increased risk of dental fluorosis.” (7) Marshall co-authored “Associations between Intakes of Fluoride from Beverages during Infancy and Dental Fluorosis of Primary Teeth,” in the Journal of American Clinical Nutrition. (b)

In 2000, researcher A K Mascarenhas evaluating only well-conducted studies from the 1980s through the 1990s concluded in Pediatric Dentistry that infant formula was a major risk factor for dental fluorosis. (8)

As part of the on-going Iowa Fluoride Study, Levy and his team measured the fluoride content of infant formula and found from 0.15 to 0.30 ppm in ready-to-feed infant formula. (9)

Common household water filters (e.g. carbon filters) do not remove fluoride and unlike chlorine, which dissipates upon boiling, fluoride becomes more concentrated when water is boiled.

USDA: Fluoride-content of common foods:

Pictures of fluorosis
Contact: Paul Beeber, Esq 516-433-8882

SOURCE: New York State Coalition Opposed to Fluoridation, Inc.


1) “Assessing a potential risk factor for enamel fluorosis: a
preliminary evaluation of fluoride content in infant formulas,”
Journal of the American Dental Association October 2009





6) “Infant Formula and Enamel Fluorosis: A Systematic Review,”
Journal of the American Dental Association by Hujoel, et al, July 2009

6a) “National Academy Calls for Lowering Fluoride Limits in Tap
Water,” EWG News Release, March 2006

7) “Too Much Fluoride May Harm Babies’ Teeth,” Reuters Health, May 5,

8) Pediatric Dentistry. July-August 2000. “Risk factors for dental
fluorosis: a review of the recent literature,” by Mascarenhas AK

9) Dental Clinics of North America 47(2003), “Current and future role
of fluoride in nutrition,” by Warren & Levy, 225-243

More evidence that infant formula is linked to dental fluorosis:

More: Carrie’s Interview with Bill Osmunson DDS, MPH, and Fluoride Action Network Spokesperson on the risks of fluoride.

More Posts By Carrie:


One Response to “Infant Formula Contains Fluoride at Tooth-Discoloring Levels”

  1. Emily on October 25th, 2009 7:01 am

    That’s nasty! I’d heard/figured out many of the other dangers of infant formula, but didn’t realize it sometimes had formula added to it. Of course, parents who mix the formula with tap water are putting a lot more toxins into it than just flouride. (We use a reverse osmosis filter for our drinking water, which removes just about everything.)

    Breast *is* best; no one who has done their research can claim that infant formula comes even close.

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