Fluoridated Water still Remains a Great Oral Health Benefit
Have you had your dose of fluoride in your water today? According to the 2013 Delta Dental of Illinois Children's Oral Health Survey, 64% of caregivers say bottled water is better than or equally as good as tap water for children's oral health. This opinion is at odds with evidence-based dentistry and more than six decades of public health experience.
So what's the big deal you ask? Fluoride is absorbed into the tooth enamel, making it stronger and more resistant to decay. It's very important that children get fluoride on their teeth to prevent this decay.
Not only is fluoride important for tooth enamel, it also helps repair tooth surfaces that are damaged by the acid produced by certain bacteria in the mouth, which prevents cavities from continuing to form. Unfortunately according to our survey, only 28% of Illinois parents believe that tap water is better for their children's oral health than bottled water.
So what can you do? It's simple!
Drink tap water – in Illinois, the majority of tap water is fluoridated so this is the simplest way. To find out the fluoridation status of your local water supply, contact your city water department of your local water provider.
There are three other ways to get more fluoride in your child's diet:
• Fluoridated toothpastes, mouth rises and/or professionally applied gels or varnishes. Fluoride toothpaste use should start at about age 2 or whenever you think your child won't swallow all the toothpaste. Remember to use a pea-size amount.
• Dietary fluoride supplements, such as tablets, drops or lozenges are intended for children typically older than 6 months living in areas without fluoridated water in their community. These are typically available only by prescription.
• Bottled water that states on the label that it contains the right amount of fluoride.
By Dr. Katina Spadoni, DDS, dental director for Delta Dental of Illinois