Bottled water has come into vogue in recent years largely due to concerns about the purity and taste of tap water. It comes in several varieties including artesian well, drinking, purified, mineral, sparkling and spring. Tap water undergoes a purification process that involves sedimentation to eliminate suspended materials, treatment with activated carbon, which removes tastes and odors, filtration, and chlorination as well as other methods to kill microorganisms.
Fluoride is a compound that is added to most tap water supplies, toothpastes, and mouth rinses to reduce cavities. Fluoride becomes incorporated into our teeth as they develop and makes them more resistant to tooth decay. After our teeth are formed, fluoride can reverse the progress of early cavities, and sometimes prevent the need for corrective dental treatments.
Mass water fluoridation is the most cost-effective measure available to reduce the incidence of tooth decay. The Environmental Protection Agency has determined that the acceptable tap water concentration for fluoride is 0.7 to 1.2 parts per million. Much higher levels have been associated with chalky white discolorations of the teeth known as fluorosis.
Most bottled water does not contain fluoride. If it does, it will be listed on the label. Drinking bottled water can increase the risk of cavities in some people. It is recommended you use a fluoridated toothpaste and mouth rinse. You should consider using a fluoride supplement, tablets or drops, if your dentist has noticed an increase in cavities that correlates with when you started drinking bottled water.
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