Since the 1940s, many communities all across the United States have added fluoride to tap water, and over the years these initiatives have led to a dramatic downturn in cavities and tooth decay in children. Despite some opposition from activist groups over the ensuing decades, the fluoridation of drinking water and these widespread benefits to oral health have, until recently, remained consistent. Now, recent changes in how American children and children from other developed countries consume water and other beverages once derived from tap water threaten to reverse these advancements. Bottled water is sold as being free of contaminants, but major brands of bottled water are also fluoride-free, and the dramatic rise in the consumption of bottled water is believed to be a contributing factor to a rise in cavities in children. Parents should be aware of all of the facts regarding fluoride and bottled water in order to make an informed decision for their children.

Find The Right Balance

Bottled water brands will clearly note on their label whether or not their product contains fluoride. If your preferred brand of bottled water does not, your child may be ingesting an inadequate amount on a daily basis. To counteract this deficit, make sure that your child is brushing at least twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste, and if they are eight years old or older, it may also be appropriate to use a fluoride mouth rinse at least once daily. Finally, fluoride supplements are also available, but it is important to ensure that your children are not ingesting too much fluoride, as too much can discolor and damage their permanent teeth. It is always optimal to consult with your dentist to determine if your child is receiving the right amount of fluoride.

Other Downsides Of Bottled Water

In addition to a lack of fluoride, there are other reasons why drinking bottled water on a regular basis is less than ideal. Bottled water is much more expensive than regular tap water, and in addition to the monetary costs, tap water also takes a heavy toll on the environment, especially discarded plastic bottles that are not recycled. It is important to carefully consider whether or not you should continue to consume bottled water outside of special circumstanced when tap water is unavailable.