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While many see bottled water as a convenient way to quench their thirst, some oral health professionals are sounding the alarm about the lack of fluoride in bottled water that may be causing an increase in cavities and other dental hygiene ailments.

A recent report from industry news source Health Magazine indicated that many bottled water products on the market have no fluoride, an ingredient that is present in most tap water supplies. Communities introduce the compound into local sources because, according to the American Dental Association, it helps strengthen teeth and can reduce decay by 20 percent to 40 percent. Without it, doctors told the source, children are exposed to increased dental risks.

“Available studies show that most bottled waters have less than 0.3 parts per million of fluoride, well below the accepted level for optimally fluoridated drinking water,” Dr. Jonathan Shenkin, an ADA-affiliated dentist, told Health Magazine. “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.”

Data published by the Beverage Marketing Corporation in late May showed that, in 2011, 8.4 billion gallons of bottled water were bought and consumed in U.S. markets. This amount, dentists have said, mean that while bottled water is easier to get, it opens the floodgate for more oral problems and a greater need for treatment.

Fluoride, whether through tap water or dental hygiene products like mouthwash or toothpaste, is an important part of oral health. Access to affordable healthcare, in conjunction with a good care regimen, is necessary for staying healthy and strong. For information about what services can benefit you, contact your local family dentistry practice to learn more today.

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