What you may not know is that the things you eat and drink can drastically affect your teeth, how they look, and when you need to see the dentist. Sure, most people know that soda isn’t great for teeth, but even the type of water you drink can affect your dental health.
Americans go through a lot of bottled water. In fact, the average person in the country goes through about 30 gallons of bottled water yearly. This breaks down to about four bottles per person, per week. But is bottled water really better for you than tap water? And how does bottled water affect your teeth?
One thing to keep in mind is that bottled water is considered a food product by the Food and Drug Administration, and FDA standards for bottled water aren’t as strict as you might think.¹ In addition, bottled water is susceptible to bacteria once you break the seal, especially if it’s allowed to warm up to room temperature.
Most bottled water lacks fluoride, an essential part of dental health, which is a component of most tap water. Because of this, if you drink mostly bottled water, you may want to consider adding a fluoride supplement to your diet. Adding a supplement allows you to keep up with your tooth health, while still drinking the water you want.
Filtered tap water
A large number of Americans also drink filtered or treated tap water. Whether you use a filter that attaches directly to the tap or use a pitcher filter, you may feel like you’re doing the best possible thing for your family. However, filtered water isn’t always the best option.
The filtration process may be getting rid of fluoride and other important compounds that are standard in tap water. It all depends on the filter you use. Some filters allow fluoride through or add it back after the filtering process is complete. If you want to ensure that you’re getting what you need from your water, it’s important to make sure that you get the right filter.
Straight tap water
The Environmental Protection Agency has determined that there are a number of chemicals, vitamins, and minerals that are essential to tap water.² They help maintain the overall health of the water and those who drink it. Some of the additions to your tap water include fluoride to improve dental health and chlorine to kill bacteria.
More than half of U.S. consumers are nervous about contaminants in their drinking water or don’t know what’s in it, because it can become contaminated or have potential negative health effects. But if you’re worried about the health of your teeth and don’t want to add fluoride to your diet, tap water is the best option. The majority of towns and cities in the country offer safe, delicious tap water that gives you the vitamins and minerals you need without negatively affecting your health.
You can also choose to drink distilled or reverse osmosis water. This water is devoid of all chemicals, vitamins, and minerals. It is considered by some to be the purest type of water. While distilled water is not harmful to your body or health overall, it certainly isn’t going to do your teeth any favors. As with other types of water, if you choose to drink distilled water, you’re going to have to do some extra work to protect your teeth. Otherwise, you’re opening yourself up to cavities and tooth decay.
You can buy distilled water in bottles or jugs, or you can distill your own. There are also a number of systems that do reverse osmosis or distillation for you. In any of these situations, you’ll need to add fluoride to your body either through eating foods enriched with the mineral or by adding it as a supplement.
When you’re worried about your overall health, one of the best things you can do is ensure that you’re drinking enough water. Any type of water is better than no water at all. Those who are concerned about keeping their teeth as healthy as possible should drink water that is fortified with fluoride.³ Keeping your teeth in good health is a multi-step process, and many people don’t realize that the water they choose to drink is part of it. Making well-informed decisions allows you to keep your entire body at its peak performance.
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https://www.fda.gov/consumers/consumer-updates/bottled-water-everywhere-keeping-it-safe (Last accessed 2019).
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK216589/ (Last accessed 2019).
https://www.ada.org/en/~/media/ADA/Member%20Center/FIles/article\_10reasons (Last accessed 2019).
Brought to you by The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America (Guardian), New York, NY. Material discussed is meant for general illustration and/or informational purposes only and it is not to be construed as tax, legal, investment or medical advice.(exp.10/21)