If you’ve been following the news, you’ve probably heard about the tragic situation currently occurring in Flint, MI. A change in water sources has led to lead contamination in their public supply of water. Thousands of people have been affected.

Not surprisingly, the Flint water crisis has left some Michigan residents reluctant to drink tap water. Although the crisis is believed to be limited to Flint, many people throughout the state are drinking bottled water to err on the side of caution.

At Plymouth Dentistry, we certainly understand this abundance of caution. But there are a few things about bottled water that you should keep in mind when it comes to your dental care. So in today’s post, we’re going to give you three facts to consider if you’re regularly consuming bottled water.

Fact #1: Most Bottled Water Does Not Contain Fluoride

Public supplies of water often have fluoride added to them. Fluoride is a mineral that helps to strengthen your enamel, helping to protect your teeth against tooth decay. Fluoride is so useful in the fight against tooth decay that it is one of the most common ingredients in toothpaste.

However, most bottled water companies demineralize their water supplies, leaving the water free of fluoride. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, popular brands of bottled water that don’t contain fluoride include: Aqua Fresca, Clear Mountain, Crystal Springs, Culligan, Deja Blue, Evian, Glacier Bay, Ice Mountain, Nestlé Pure Life, Safeway-brand bottled water, Summit Valley, United Dairy Farmers-brand bottled water, Walgreens-brand bottled water, and Walmart-brand bottled water.

When you switch to bottled water, you lower your intake of fluoride. That’s not to say that you’re going to immediately start developing cavities when you begin drinking bottled water. But it does mean you will not be getting as much protection against tooth decay in your oral health routine.

Fact #2: Brushing and Flossing are EVEN More Important if You’re Drinking Bottled Water

Most of our patients know the importance of regular brushing and flossing. The American Dental Association recommends brushing at least twice a day, for two minutes at a time. The ADA also advises you to floss at least once a day.

Brushing and flossing are your first line of defense against plaque and tartar. Whenever you consume food or drink liquids other than water, a fine film of a yellowish bacteria known as plaque is left behind on the enamel of your teeth. Plaque is acidic, so it can dissolve holes into your enamel if it is not removed. Plaque can also cause gum disease when it accumulates under your gumline.

If you’re drinking bottled water on a regular basis, you’re missing out on some of the protections of fluoride. That means it’s important to never forget to brush and floss your teeth, and have your children do likewise. The fluoride in the toothpaste will help protect you against tooth decay.

Speak to Dr. Feucht to see if you need to switch to a different brand of toothpaste or otherwise alter your dental health routine. Special toothpastes are available by prescription that contain a much higher level of fluoride. Dr. Feucht can help you determine (based off your risk of tooth decay) if prescription toothpaste is right for you.

Fact #3: Regular Dental Exams are EVEN More Important if You’re Drinking Bottled Water

The American Dental Association also recommends undergoing a dental exam and cleaning every six months. During a dental cleaning, a dental hygienist uses ultrasonic tools to remove plaque and tartar. No matter how well you brush and floss your teeth, it’s impossible to remove every deposit of plaque and tartar on your own.

A dental cleaning is necessary to remove plaque from the areas of your mouth that you’re unable to reach yourself. Dental cleanings are also needed to remove hardened deposits of tartar, which generally cannot be removed without professional help. Best of all, a dental cleaning greatly lowers your risk of tooth decay and can even reverse the early stages of gum disease.

If you’re drinking bottled water, you’re at a greater risk for tooth decay and gum disease than someone who drinks fluoridated water. So don’t miss an appointment! We want to be your home for Plymouth family dentistry. We can provide family dentistry and cosmetic dentistry services for everyone in the family. Make an appointment today by calling (734) 224-4359.