The Link Between Tap Water, Bottled Water, and Tooth Decay

Family dentist in Lafayette LAOver the last five years, Americans’ consumption of bottled water has increased at an astounding rate. According to the International Bottled Water Association and Beverage Marketing Corporation, Americans drank 9.7 billion gallons of bottled water in 2012. Many of Dr. Michael J. Young’s patients have concerns about whether drinking bottled water instead of tap water will affect their oral health. Dr. Young, a family dentist in Lafayette LA, explains the importance of fluoride and its place in drinking water.

Convenient and Great-Tasting, But What’s the Catch?

We can’t deny the ease with which you can stash bottled water in school lunches, purses, gym bags, and desk drawers. True, bottled water lacks chlorine and the tell-tale metallic taste that we associate with tap water. Nonetheless, heath experts express concern about the lack of fluoride in most brands of bottled water. Specifically, they wonder whether children who exclusively drink bottled water will have a greater risk of developing cavities and other oral health problems.

Fluoride Offers Added Protection From Tooth Decay

Fluoride strengthens teeth and defends against de-mineralization, which occurs when bacteria in your mouth mix with sugar from foods and beverages. The bacteria produce acid that eats away at our tooth enamel. Over time, these acid attacks contribute to tooth decay with the possibility of tooth and bone loss. Although you can purchase fluoridated products, such as toothpaste, mouth rinses, and gels, fluoride proves most effective when used throughout the day as opposed to once or twice daily. Drinking tap water is the simplest, most cost-effective way to achieve this.

Multiple studies show that drinking fluoridated water makes you less likely to experience tooth decay, citing a decrease of 20 to 40 percent. However, Dr. Young notes, studies have not shown a direct link between the prevalence of tooth decay with consumption of bottled water. The American Dental Association advises adults and children to drink tap water throughout the day to enjoy the full benefits of fluoridation. Regular cleanings and checkups protect your entire family, keeping your teeth strong, healthy, and attractive.

Questions about fluoride or cavity prevention? To schedule an appointment or request more information, call our Lafayette LA dentist office at 337-237-6453. We proudly serve families living in Youngsville, Broussard, Scott, Breaux Bridge, and the surrounding communities.