Are you pregnant? Do you think it might be helpful to have a fluoride treatment during your next dental appointment? After all, you don’t want to be at risk for tooth decay, so why not let a professional better equip your teeth with a trusted and proven treatment? Although you’re not incorrect about its effectiveness, the truth is that undergoing fluoride treatment while pregnant can lead to problems with your unborn child’s IQ. Read on to learn more about the link between the two and if you should wait until after your baby is born to see a professional about this type of preventive treatment.
Fluoride and Your Child’s IQ: The Potential Danger
In 2019, a study was published in the JAMA Pediatrics that examined the correlation between a mother’s fluoride exposure and its effect on a child’s IQ between the ages of 3 and 4. Relying on self-reported information provided by 400 women (out of 512), researchers analyzed their daily fluoride intake from water and other consumed beverages.
After assessing their children’s IQ, which was based on a full scale, performance, and verbal, they discovered the Performance IQ score was much lower in boys whose mothers had higher fluoride levels, as opposed to women who lived in non-fluoridated water areas. The reason is that this natural mineral collects in the area of the brain that controls learning and memory.
Should Pregnant Women Be Exposed to Fluoride?
Although the report does shed light on the potential harm fluoride can have on a young child’s IQ, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists encourage women to continue using fluoride toothpaste and maintain good oral hygiene during pregnancy. Not to mention, the American Dental Association (ADA) also suggests fluoridated water is one of the most effective ways to combat tooth decay.
While it may be beneficial to avoid additional fluoride treatments provided by your dentist throughout pregnancy, drinking fluoridated water that is regulated by the US Public Health Service is beneficial to ensure optimal oral health. Also, it can help alleviate the common problem of tooth decay in young children.
Because the study was observational and only found an association between fluoride and IQ levels, more significant research must be done to determine its safety for pregnant women.
However, it is best to follow the advice of your medical physician and dentist in Merrimack to determine how much fluoride you should be exposed to throughout your pregnancy.
About the Author
Dr. Jini Shetty has more than two decades of experience in the field of dentistry. Earning her Doctor of Dental Medicine degree from Boston University, she also completed her Advanced Education in General Dentistry (AEGD) from New Jersey Dental School and state-of-the-art training at the Las Vegas Institute. Her commitment to providing exceptional dentistry to patients in Merrimack and its surrounding communities is evident in her ability to safeguard smiles as well as repair, rebuild, and restore them to look and feel healthier and more aesthetically pleasing. If you are pregnant and are looking to protect your smile as well as your unborn baby, contact us via our website or call (603) 429-2199.