Though you may know the term “fluoride” from your regular dental check-ups, did you realize that on a daily basis, you get fluoride from tap water? Starting in Grand Rapids, Michigan in 1945, cities have been adjusting the fluoride levels in water supplies to improve the oral health of Americans for over 65 years (ADA). Fluoride is a chemical ion that protects teeth from decay and cavities by neutralizing acid that can erode tooth enamel as well as accumulate in areas of teeth that have already been damaged and begin to remineralize and strengthen them.
Similar to fortifying milk with vitamin D or bread with folic acid, the addition of fluoride to public drinking water is an effective method to aid in the reduction of tooth decay (shown to reduce instances of decay by 20-40%) and is a dental care practice endorsed by the American Dental Association. The EPA closely monitors the level of fluoride in drinking water to ensure safety and recently announced adjustments in recommended levels to maximize effectiveness while avoiding other unwanted health effects.
With the popularity of bottled waters and flavored waters on the rise for daily drinking, it’s important to note that these hydration sources don’t contain the fluoride found in tap water. Make sure you are using toothpastes, mouthwashes and oral health products with sufficient levels of fluoride in order to enjoy the oral health benefits if you prefer bottled water over tap. And of course, make regular visits to Dental Health and Wellness Boston ensure the health of your teeth!