Dr. Steven Levy of the University of Iowa in Iowa City says young children who ingest substantial amounts of fluoride through beverages made with fluoridated water -- including infant formula -- or by swallowing fluoride toothpaste may be at risk of developing mild dental fluorosis characterized by barely noticeable white streaks on their teeth.
However, the researchers make "no recommendations to avoid use of fluoridated water in reconstituting infant formula." In fact, the researchers suggest concerns about mild fluorosis may be exaggerated.
"Nearly all of the fluorosis in our study participants was mild. A recent review of the effects of mild dental fluorosis on oral health-related quality of life concluded that the effect of mild fluorosis was not adverse and could even be favorable," the study authors say in a statement.
The study, published in The Journal of the American Dental Association, asked mothers of newborn infants from eight Iowa hospitals from 1992 to 1995 to allow their children to participate in the Iowa Fluoride Study. In all, 630 children were given dental exams and had their parents answer questions about dietary and non-dietary fluoride exposures.