Did you know our bodies are made up of about 60 percent water? We rely on drinking water to help our body’s systems and organs to work. Drinking water helps us control our body temperature, lubricates our joints, aids in moving nutrients and oxygen to our cells, and avoid dehydration.
While there has been a tremendous increase in the number of Americans drinking bottled water, it’s important to understand what bottled water offers – and doesn’t offer – when it comes to oral health.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) treats bottled water as a food product and regulates its production. Under these regulations, the term ‘bottled water’ covers a wide array of bottled water products including mineral, artesian, sparkling, spring, and purified water.
The seal on bottled water keeps the water safe and in the desired condition as regulated by the FDA. However, once the seal on a bottle of water is broken, the moist environment can be susceptible to bacteria if it’s not refrigerated.
Bottled water is certainly better for your oral health than drinking sugary soda or drinks. The water bottling process, however, removes any natural substance or minerals that affects the water’s taste. Typically, there are no minerals added to bottled water during production, so not all bottles of water include fluoride.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) monitors water supplies for tap water and regulates it against any contaminants that could affect public health. Tap water is treated to kill bacteria and fluoride is added as a community health measure to prevent tooth decay.
Fluoride is a natural mineral that is easily absorbed in the tooth enamel. Fluoride is especially important for children’s developing teeth and, once teeth are fully developed, fluoride makes the entire tooth resistant to decay. Fluoride reduces mineral loss in tooth enamel and helps rebuild weak tooth enamel.
Because fluoride is added to public tap water, drinking tap water is better for you regarding oral health. The American Dental Association supports fluoridation and endorses it as a safe and beneficial public health measure to prevent cavities in both children and adults. The American Academy of Pediatrics believes fluoride will prevent cavities and is safe and effective. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ranks water fluoridation as one of the top ten public health achievements of the 20th century.
When considering drinking bottled water or tap water, it all comes down to the presence of fluoride in supporting your oral health. As you think about you and your family’s oral health needs, consider switching from bottled water to tap water for the best results!