Can Drinking Bottled Water Cause Cavities?

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Don't worry, we're not trying to scare you from filling up on eight glasses of water a day. If you're an adult and primarily drink bottled water, chances are you're fine. But it turns out, the risk of children getting cavities is higher if they do drink bottled water and for one obvious reason—lack of fluoride.

"Some bottled water lacks fluoride, which can lead to cavities and poorer dental hygiene," says New York dentist Jennifer Jablow, DDS. "The choice to add fluoride to bottled water is left up to the manufacturer, with most deciding not to."

Of course, that doesn't mean you have to drink tap water either. After all, many still debate whether fluoride in tap water actually does help, or if it breaks down tooth enamel and harms teeth.

If you do want to boost your fluoride use, you can brighten your smile while you brush using a toothpaste like Tom's of Maine Natural Simply White Fluoride Toothpaste ($9). Or if you're concerned with cavities, you can visit your dentist to get checked. Luckily, there could be a solution for cavities soon in the form of a new fluid that contains a peptide called P 11-4 that forms a gel inside the holes of your teeth and attracts calcium to aid in natural repair.

"This is an incredible advancement in the fight against tooth decay," says Dunedin, FL cosmetic dentist H. Mikel Hopkins, DDS. "Until now, the only defense we had is fluoride and tooth sealants. With this new peptide, hopefully we will be able to 'reverse the effects of the decay."

But until this new solution is released in the U.S., he says the best prevention is still to see your dentist on a regular basis. "Delaying a cleaning by a month can sometimes make the difference in whether a cavity has a chance to form or not. Even with this new technology, early detection is the key, so it will still be just as important to keep those dental check up appointments."