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Too Much Bottled Water Might Harm Kids' Teeth
Date:8/1/2012

>Pediatric Dentistry found that nearly 70 percent of parents surveyed said that they gave their children bottled water to drink, either exclusively or alongside tap water.

Parents cited bottle waters' convenience; a preference for its taste and smell; and a fear of tap water contamination.

Nearly two-thirds of parents said that they had no idea whether or not the bottled water they gave their children contained any amount of fluoride.

Dr. Jonathan Shenkin, an American Dental Association spokesman and Augusta, Maine-based pediatric dentist, said that consumers would have a hard time finding out if a product contained fluoride, and even if it did, whether the amount was significant.

"Available studies show that most bottled waters have less than 0.3 ppm [parts per million] of fluoride, well below the accepted level for optimally fluoridated drinking water," he said. "There are no [U.S.] Food and Drug Administration requirements that the amount of fluoride be labeled on bottled water unless it has been added during processing. This leaves consumers in the dark about the fluoride content of the bottled water they consume."

But the connection between bottled water and dental health is just a suspicion, with no scientific proof.

Shenkin acknowledged that "there has been no research to show using bottled water causes tooth decay." At the same time, he cautioned that fluoridated tap water is now believed by experts to reduce the risk of tooth decay by about 25 percent, and that no research has effectively discounted the possible connection between non-fluoridated bottled water consumption and a rise in tooth decay risk.

Indeed, Shenkin offered a "reminder that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control [and Prevention] listed water fluoridation as one of the 10 great public health achievements of the 20th century."

Edelstein seconded the notion that fluoride is an important tool in the fight against tooth decay.

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