By Staci Violante, MSDH, RDH
Today, drinking bottled water is considered trendy and leads to potentially relinquishing tap water for drinking completely. Manufacturers produce high end ottled water to no-frills bottled water, bringing different price tags along with them. Bottled water may be more appealing than tap these days and is marketed to be clean and clear. However, most bottled water does not contain fluoride, which is essential to prevent tooth decay.
“Americans drink an average of 30 gallons of bottled water each year,” according to the CDC.1 Aside from saliva, water is necessary for lavation of the oral cavity. It may also prevent xerostomia or dry mouth, which can increase the acid production that leads to tooth decay. Although it may be the drink of choice and crucial to oral health, deficient of fluoride, it can actually aid in causing decay.
“It’s not the water that’s causing the decay,” said Jack Cottrell, DDS, president of the Canadian Dental Association (CDA) in MedPage Today. “It’s the lack of fluoride.”2 All water sources generally contain fluoride, but most do not have enough to cultivate adequate dental health.
Fluoride, an organic, unrefined mineral that naturally occurs in many foods, helps prevent tooth decay. It becomes immersed in the tooth enamel, particularly children’s teeth, and immediately after the teeth are fully developed, the fluoride increases the resistance to decay. The absence of fluoride in bottled water raises discussion of its role in the rise of decay in children. According to the American Dental Association, “If bottled water is your main source of drinking water, you could be missing the decay-prevention benefits of fluoride.”3