Bottled water and cavities: Is there a link?

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Bottled water and cavities: Is there a link?

Question

My children prefer the taste of bottled water, so this is what we primarily drink. But now I hear that bottled water may contribute to cavities. Can you explain?

Pam
Virginia

Answer

Bottled water doesn't cause cavities. But if bottled water is your family's main source of drinking water, your children could be missing out on the cavity-preventing benefits of fluoride.

Fluoride is usually present naturally in drinking water. However, some areas of the country don't have a high enough level in the water to prevent cavities. For this reason, many communities add fluoride to their water supplies. Between tap water and toothpaste, most children get all the fluoride they need.

But the vast majority of bottled waters do not contain enough fluoride to prevent cavities. Some contain no fluoride because fluoride may be removed during processing. If your children drink mostly bottled water, you need to be aware of this.

To make sure your kids get the right amount of fluoride in bottled water, buy brands with added fluoride. When fluoride is added to bottled water, the Food and Drug Administration requires that the term "fluoridated," "fluoride added" or "with added fluoride" be used on the label.

If your children aren't getting enough fluoride, your doctor or dentist may also prescribe supplemental fluoride.

Last Updated: 04/26/2007
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