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, 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. In an effort to decrease the risk for dental cavities the vast majority of public water systems have added a salt formed from the combination of fluorine, soil and rock minerals, otherwise known as fluoride. Fluoridation does not affect the taste, smell or appearance of the drinking water.
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. Every water supply is different and it is important to be informed about the water in your community. If you have concerns about water quality and live in the Prince William County, VA area please contact the Service Authority of Prince William County. For those individuals concerned with impurities in their tap water, there are a variety of filtration systems on the market. 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 such as Brita, can help rid of that chlorinated taste and give your tap water the crisp clean taste you expect from bottled water. You find that there is no fluoride in your community water please stop by our office and we will determine if your child may be in need of a fluoride supplement.