Experts are beginning to find increasing evidence of a link between drinking bottled water and tooth decay in young children, according to Newsday.
Many bottled water brands lack fluoride, a chemical which is voluntarily added by many states and local municipalities into public water sources across the country. The same voluntary decision is in the hands of bottled water manufacturers, most of whom opt out.
“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, a Maine-based pediatric dentist and a spokesman for the American Dental Association, told the news source. “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.”
While direct links between bottled water use and tooth decay remain tenuous, Shenkin and other experts believe that fluoridated tap water can reduce the risk of tooth decay by 25 percent. Additionally, Shenkin said that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention once listed water fluoridation as one of the 10 greatest public health achievements in the 20th century.
As Americans opt for the convenience of bottled water in ever-increasing numbers – consuming about 8.4 billion gallons of bottled water each year, according to the Beverage Marketing Corp. – further research into tooth decay might dissuade them. For businesses that attract a great deal of children, such as kindergartens and pediatric healthcare providers, installing bottleless water coolers provides a healthier and more environmentally-friendly alternative to bottled water. Preventing possible tooth decay is just another bonus to installing these water coolers for the office.