Every parent has a checklist whenever they go out with their children. Probably one of the most basic items is a bottle of water. It’s important to keep them hydrated, especially if they are going to be active. However, did you know that drinking bottled water can actually increase the risk of tooth decay? This is especially true for children. Your family dentist near Helotes from Alamo Springs Dental gives you the facts on how this could be affecting your child’s teeth.
The Difference Between Bottled Water and Tap Water
One of the key differences between bottled water and tap water is fluoride. Public water sources are commonly fluorinated in order to help prevent tooth decay. Fluoride is actually a salt formed from the combination of fluorine and other minerals. It helps reduce the risk of tooth decay because whenever you drink fluorinated water, the fluoride actually adds minerals to your teeth, strengthening them. This helps to combat the loss of minerals that can lead to cavities.
While the majority of states and cities add fluoride to their water, bottled water typically does not. They are not mandated by any governing body, so the decision is left entirely to the manufacturers. Most will not, as they advertise their water as “pure” and “100% natural.” Those that do add fluoride do so in minimal amounts, well below the optimum level needed to help prevent tooth decay. More and more people are drinking bottled water more than often than tap water, and this can especially affect children.
The Effect on Children’s Teeth
Nearly 70% of parents give their children bottled water, either exclusively or in addition to tap water. Currently, up to 42% of children have had cavities in the primary (baby) teeth, and many experts believe this number could be reduced if children drank more tap water and were exposed to more fluoride. If a child is primarily drinking bottled water, they are missing out on large source of fluoride. Even if they brush twice a day with a fluoride tooth paste, this does little to make up the deficit created by not drinking fluorinated water.
Fluorinated water not only helps strengthen your children’s teeth, the water itself actually helps wash away the plaque and bacteria that can lead to cavities. This effect is multiplied as the water is often consumed numerous times a day. It is considered one of the 10 greatest health achievements of the 20th century, and has been shown to reduce tooth decay up to 25%.
So What Do You Do?
Many parents rely on bottled water for their children because of the convenience, or they consider it to be healthier. Actually, public water sources have to pass stricter health-guidelines than bottled water, and a simple plastic container filled with tap water can be just as convenient. Fluoride is an important part of your oral health regimen, which is why your family dentist near Helotes always includes a fluoride treatment whenever you bring your child in for a check-up and cleaning. You don’t have to completely give up bottled water, just understand that adding more tap water to your child’s diet could effectively help their teeth over time.
If you would like to know more about bottled water or how fluoride can help your child’s teeth, please give us a call today. We’re more than happy to answer any of your questions and let you know everything you can do to keep your child smiling.