Much has been written in the wake of water quality issues in cities such as Flint, Michigan, related to the safety of tap water in communities across the United States.
While the communities with unsafe drinking water should not be overlooked, the water quality in the U.S. is among the safest in the world. According to The Washington Post, as consumption of bottled and filtered water has increased in the U.S., exposure to fluoride—a mineral that can prevent tooth decay—also has decreased.
A decrease in exposure to fluoride can increase tooth decay. So, “It’s not the water that’s causing the decay,” said Jack Cottrell, DDS, president of the Canadian Dental Association (CDA) in MedPage Today. “It’s the lack of fluoride.”
The easiest source of fluoride is tap water. Water quality information is available online from the EPA. In addition to tap water, most toothpastes and some mouthwashes contain fluoride. Additionally, dentists provide fluoride treatments when medically recommended.