Something that many people consider to be healthy is actually causing an increase in dental caries among children and high-risk adults. For the first time in decades cavity rates are rising in children and many dentists are reporting that adult patients who didn’t appear to be caries prone are showing up with decay around existing restorations and even decay on untouched otherwise healthy enamel – something that for a while seemed pretty rare.
The culprit? Many believe it is bottled water. While we all know to counsel our patients against drinking sugar loaded soft drinks and their sneaky cousins, the “sports drink,” we often don’t remember that bottled water is replacing the fluoride fortified tap water that exists just about everywhere in North America. The CDC reports that bottled water has become so prevalent in the diets of children that many are not getting the proper amount of fluoride. According to the International Bottled Water Association (sounds like a wild group) – bottled water consumption has recently doubled and the average American now drinks thirty gallons per year! Believing that it is healthier, many parents are not only having their kids drink bottled water, they are preparing baby formula with it too! Even bottled water that is basically tap water in a fancy container is micro-filtered, a process that can remove fluoride.
We think that all dental professionals should counsel their patients about bottled water use, and for those that insist on sticking with it, prescribe an appropriate fluoride supplement. You can let patients know that besides the health benefits they will save money and help the environment if they ditch the stuff!!
Besides the primary objective of helping kids and some adults get less cavities, this kind of advice is a great marketing tool as well. Tell a Mom about it and what do you think she will do next time she is hanging out with friends? Surely tell all of her peers about what a fantastic dentist you are for staying up on the news and making this great recommendation. Also, if you are into social media (which you sure should be) this is an excellent topic to tweet about or to use as a status update on your Facebook fan page. If you’re not into social media but would like to be, click here to learn more.
Bottled water and cavity rates are great topics to grab the attention of your patients and help educate them about oral hygiene, fluoride intake, and proper brushing and flossing. And as we all know, those great healthy smiles will truly make the world a better place!