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Bottled Water Versus Tap Water
Staying well hydrated is one of the best things you can do for your oral and overall health.
Although bottled water is commonly perceived as being the “cleaner” alternative to tap water, it is missing one vital component – fluoride. Many experts attribute the recent rise in cavities to be linked to the surge of bottle water consumption.
What Are the Benefits Of Tap Water?
Fluoride can slow the rate at which tooth enamel demineralizes and also encourage remineralization of an area that has the early stages (white spots) of a cavity. According to the American Dental Association, “studies prove water fluoridation continues to be effective in reducing tooth decay by 20-40%, even in an era with widespread availability of fluoride from other sources, such as fluoride toothpaste.
Fluoridation is one public health program that actually saves money. An individual can have a lifetime of fluoridated water for less than the cost of one dental filling.”
Tap water also contains calcium and magnesium. There have been studies that show that communities that have tap water containing higher levels of calcium and magnesium have lower death rates since they can help protect against heart disturbances.
Is Tap Water Safe?
Although water fluoridation is safe and beneficial for our oral health, over exposure to fluoride can cause dental fluorosis. Fluorosis in most cases is generally mild, but may cause some whitish spots on the permanent teeth.
For infants who are on formula that already contains fluoride, parents should take caution when reconstituting with fluorinated water. Talk to your pediatrician before altering the diet for your infant. Fluoride toothpaste and rinses should also not be consumed, since it contains a dangerous level of fluoride if ingested in large amounts.
If you are on well water or are unsure of the fluoride levels in your community you may consider getting your water tested. If you have concerns about water quality, contact the Service Authority of your county. Chlorine is a product that is added to water during the filtration process that helps get rid of bacteria. Refrigerating your tap water overnight and using a water filtration system, can help remove impurities and give your tap water a crisp clean taste.
If there is no fluoride in your community water please ask your dentist to determine if your child may be in need of a fluoride supplement.