Is Bottled Water Hurting Your Child's Teeth?

Dentist Blog

Cavities in children, whether in their baby teeth or in their permanent teeth, are on the rise again after years of declining. There are many reasons why this might be happening, but one reason that may not occur to you is the bottled water that you put in your child's lunchbox or take with you to the park. Take a look at what you need to know about how bottled water may be affecting your child's dental health.

It's What's Not In The Water

"It must be something in the water" is a common expression used when there isn't an immediate and obvious explanation for a particular phenomenon. However, in this case, it's what's not in the water that may be causing a problem. Most municipalities fluoridate the water that goes into your home and comes out of the tap. Fluoride is an important mineral that helps prevent tooth decay and build strong bones.

However, fluoride can only help your child's teeth if they're consuming it. One study showed that nearly 70% of parents gave their children bottled water either exclusively or with tap water. If you've replaced tap water with bottled water all or most of the time, there's a chance your child isn't getting as much fluoride as they need to protect their teeth from decay. Most bottled water is not fluoridated, and since manufacturers don't have to list fluoride on the bottle labels, it can be hard for you to know either way.

What Happens When Teeth Don't Get Enough Fluoride?

Children who aren't consuming enough fluoride may have teeth that are pitted or have holes in them. They may also experience toothaches. Decaying teeth are vulnerable to infections that can present with several symptoms, from oral pain to fevers and earaches.

Children should be getting fluoride in small amounts starting in infancy, and starting around the age of four, the recommended dosage is around 1 mg per day. By age nine, they should be getting  2 mg per day, and it should increase to 3 mg per day during their teen years.

What To Do

As long as the tap water in your area is safe to drink, the easiest way to ensure that your children are getting fluoride is to have them drink tap water instead of bottled. Invest in a reusable container for lunchboxes or playdates instead of sending them with disposable bottles – it will be better for their teeth and the environment.

If your water isn't fluoridated, or if you live in an area where the water is not safe to drink, your child may need fluoride supplements to preserve their tooth health. Many mouthwashes and toothpastes contain fluoride, and your dentist can recommend additional supplements if needed.

This is one reason why it's important to talk to your pediatric dentist about your child's diet and beverage intake. The food and drink your child consumes can have a profound impact on their dental health – even a beverage usually seen as healthy, like bottled water. Keep your child's dentist informed and they'll be able to help you come up with options that keep your child's teeth healthy. 


27 April 2016

Maximizing Your Smile Power

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