The Importance Of Tap Water To Dental Health

Reasons to Drink Tap Water

  • No sugar to cause dental decay
  • Fluoridation to prevent decay
  • No calories to cause weight gain
  • Fights dry mouth (decreased saliva) which increases the risk of decay

Tooth decay is the most common disease in man, found in millions of people. However, 150 million Americans (two-thirds of communities) have access to fluoridated tap water. Water fluoridation has prevented between 40-60% of cavities in children in these communities.

Q: My children only drink bottled water; do they get enough fluoride to prevent tooth decay?

A: Water with fluoride prevents tooth decay. Its main effect is during the formation of teeth. If bottled water is your main source of drinking water you are probably depriving your children of the decay preventing properties of fluoride. Bottled water is predicted to this year become the most popular drink beverage in this country, outselling soft drinks, beer, milk and fruit drinks. The majority of bottled waters do not contain therapeutic levels of fluoride.

A major point is fluoride ingestion during the first 18 years of life. The most important time is during tooth formation; this begins two months after conception and continues until the wisdom teeth develop. Pregnant women need to drink a glass (8 ounces) of fluoridated tap water a day for a therapeutic intake of fluoride in developing baby teeth. Bottled water does not contain any fluoride unless specified on the label. Optimal levels are 0.7-1.2 ppm of fluoride

Q: What else can I do to prevent tooth decay?

A: Everyone has bacteria which forms plaque. To prevent tooth destruction you must remove the plaque.

This is done by daily brushing and flossing. Brush at least twice a day. Floss once a day. The use of Fluoride toothpaste aids in limiting the acid effect on tooth enamel.

Regular dental examinations and professional cleanings remove plaque and calculus (mineralized plaque), administer Fluoride treatments and allow for caries to be treated early with fillings.

Dental sealants (plastic protective coverings) can be applied to the biting surfaces of back teeth; these seal the grooves where almost 90% of decay occurs, preventing decay from occurring when in place.

Eat nutritious meals and limit snacking.

Q: Why are children having more decay now than in the 1980s?

A: This problem relates to nutrition and eating and drinking habits. The high frequency ingestion of sugar (starchy foods, candies, sodas, fruit juice and sports drinks, etc.) leads to tooth decay. The average teenager drinks over sixty gallons of soft drinks per year. Starches are broken down by mouth enzymes to sugars, sugars broken down into acids. These acids then break down the tooth. After the last intake of sugar, tooth plaque bacteria give off acids for up to twenty minutes. If you constantly sip and snack, your teeth can’t fight the constant production of acid and demineralization results.

American diets will save trillions of calories this year by switching from sugary, carbonated drinks. Increase your water intake.

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