Fluoride is known to slow down the decay of teeth and is added to toothpaste, mouthwash, and water. However, new research by the JAMA Pediatrics suggests that fluoride consumption has a negative impact on the IQ of unborn children.

The team of Canadian researchers has found out that there is a link between the consumption of fluoridated water and offspring with lower intelligence scores. The recent study has revealed that 1 mg more consumed per day could be linked to a lowered IQ of about 3.7 points, regardless of the gender of the offspring. The intelligence scores were taken at ages three and four.

For the study, the researchers examined the fluid levels found in the urine of 512 pregnant women participants who are in their trimester. The group of participants was required to have self-reported daily data on fluoride intake. The research also included another group consisting of 400 pregnant women who reported to take beverages other than fluoridated water.

David Bellinger, a neurologist at the Boston Children's Hospital at Harvard Medical School,  stated in his accompanying editorial that the intake of fluoride should be given serious consideration as the synthetically produced chemical could be considered as a potential neurotoxin. The doctor added that the possibility that the theory might be proven has worrisome implications. According to the researchers, their study highlights the need for pregnant women to dial down on their fluoride intake.

Patricia A. Braun, a professor of pediatrics at the University of Colorado, pointed out that many articles testify for the safety of fluoridating community water. However, it is essential to consider the impacts. The professor, who is also the chair to the AAP Section on Oral Health Executive Committee, added that the recently released study does not change the fact that fluoride has benefits as well. 

The American Dental Association has the same sentiments as Braun, pointing out that the fluoridation of public water supplies is the single most effective method when it comes to preventing tooth decay for the masses. The use of fluoridated toothpaste by pregnant women is still encouraged by The American College of Obstetricians. However, upcoming reviews will be done where the use of fluoridated water, toothpaste, and mouthwash should be reconsidered.

AAP pointed out that dental disease has been causing children to miss school hours as well with more than 50 million hours in record annually. 

Demitri Christakis, the JAMA Pediatrics editor, talked about the difficulty of publishing such a controversial study, saying that a single study rarely gives definitive evidence. There have been and will be more studies that will delve into the link between cognitive development and degree of exposure to fluoride.