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Bottled water: Sexy product delivers shallow results in fluoride test

Bottled water Sexy product delivers shallow results in fluoride testBottled water consumption exploded 200 percent between 1990 and 2000, with consumers taking 5 billion gallons off store shelves in 2008. Though slick advertising creates an air of glamour around many

Bottled water: Sexy product delivers shallow results in fluoride test

Bottled water consumption exploded 200 percent between 1990 and 2000, with consumers taking 5 billion gallons off store shelves in 2008. Though slick advertising creates an air of glamour around many bottled water brands, what’s inside those bottles comes up short in delivering the valuable fluoride found in tap water which helps to protect teeth from cavities, according to a study published in the January/February 2009 issue of General Dentistry, the Academy of General Dentistry’s (AGD) clinical, peer-reviewed journal.

Researchers tested the fluoride content in more than 100 different samples of bottled water, which fell into six categories: distilled, drinking/purified, spring/artesian, mineral, fluoride-added and flavor-added. Of the total 105 samples, the fluoride concentrations in the majority of the samples fell below the U.S. government’s recommended range of 0.7-1.2 parts per million (ppm), the ideal range to prevent cavities. Only five samples met the recommended range.

Lead author of the study, Ryan L. Quock, DDS, recommends consumers speak with their dentist about their primary drinking water source. “Understanding consumers’ water drinking habits is extremely important,” he says. “Determining if they are drinking appropriately fluoridated water, especially when they have or are at risk for cavities, is crucial information, because fluoridated water is an automatic way for them to help improve their oral health. Talking to them also allows us to have a conversation about fluoride’s effects, mainly focusing on its relationship to dental caries and fluorosis.”

Among pediatric patients fluoride intake plays a critical role in strengthening developing teeth and providing protection against caries. Patricia Meredith, DDS, MS, FAGD, AGD spokesperson, advises parents to do their research before handing their child a water bottle.

“Parents should be in charge of how much bottled water their kids drink, in order to make sure that that they also receive the proper amount of fluoridated water that will keep their teeth healthy,” Meredith says. Fluoride in toothpaste, water supplies and other oral hygiene products is one of the basics of keeping children’s mouths healthy, she adds. “With soda and energy drinks being as popular as they are, not to mention the attractiveness of sugary snacks, children’s mouths are constantly fighting cavity-causing bacteria. Something as simple as drinking water from the tap is a no-nonsense and cost-effective way to prevent cavities.”

Source: Academy of General Dentistry; www.agd.org.

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