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Illinois children missing out on fluoridated water

Apr 05, 2013

bottled water vs tap water

Photo source: filtersfast.com

Illinois children are being deprived of the benefits of fluoride because nearly 50 percent of caregivers say they are more likely to give their children bottled water rather than tap water.

The same 2013 Delta Dental of Illinois Children’s Oral Health Survey revealed that 64 percent of caregivers think bottled water is better than or as equally beneficial as tap water, despite six decades of public health experience data. On the other hand, only 28 percent of Illinois parents believe tap water is better for their children’s teeth than bottled water.

Nearly half of those caregivers do not know if their local water supply is fluoridated.

Fluoride is a natural mineral found in many foods and water.  It helps prevent tooth decay by assisting teeth to resist acid attacks from plaque bacteria and sugars in the mouth. In children under six years of age, fluoride blends into the development of permanent teeth, making it harder for acids to demineralize them. Fluoride also reverses early decay by speeding up remineralization and disrupting acid production in erupted teeth.

An Eastern Virginia Medical School report published by the journal Pediatric Dentistry in 2009 found nearly 70 percent of parents surveyed gave their children bottled water, either exclusively or along with tap water. The popularity of bottled water in households nationwide is curbing the use of fluoridated tap water therefore decreasing its benefits. 

Dental Wire reported last August that Americans drink approximately 8.4 billion gallons of bottled water annually.  Some bottled water brands include fluoride but many do not.  The decision to include fluoride is solely up to individual manufacturers and those that do include it use less than 0.03 ppm (part per million) of fluoride, well below the optimal acceptable level.

Today, approximately 72.4% of American residents receive fluoridation’s cavity protection by drinking water from public water systems, improving the oral health of tens of millions of Americans.

“It’s very important that children get fluoride on their teeth daily to prevent tooth decay,” said Dr. Katina Spadoni, DDS and Dental Director for Delta Dental of Illinois. “The key to fluoride’s protective benefit is by having a little fluoride on your teeth throughout the day.”

Delta Dental of Illinois recommends you consult your child’s dentist for advice on the proper amount of fluoride specifically recommended for your child. Many dental offices and dental plans provide routine fluoride treatments for children and adults during your six-month cleaning and checkup.

Sources: RockRiverTimes.com, Fox News, HealthDay, U.S. News & World Report, WebMD



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