Are cavities making a comeback?

Americans are consuming an astounding amount of bottled water—more than $7 billion a year, according to the International Bottled Water Association. Whether it’s because of unpleasant tasting tap water, or as a healthy option to water that may contain impurities, bottled water has become the choice for many Americans.

Many parents give their children bottled water as a way of protecting them from harmful contaminants such as lead. Some choose it to avoid the unpleasant taste of chlorine. Still others are so concerned about water quality, they’ve installed water filtration systems in the home. These are all good intentions, but there is one thing missing from the majority of bottled waters and removed by many filtration systems—fluoride. As a result, America’s children may not be getting enough fluoride for healthy teeth.

“The popularity of bottled water and some filtering systems has become almost a double-edged sword. On one hand, parents feel they are contributing to the health of their children by having them drink water that’s filtered or bought at the store,” says dentist Dr. Michael Lynch of Cleveland. “On the other hand, if the fluoride has been removed, or was not added to begin with, you’re looking at a possible increased risk in tooth decay and/or newly formed cavities.”

Why fluoride is so important?

The American Dental Association (ADA) endorses community water fluoridation as a safe, effective and cost-effective public health measure for preventing tooth decay. Fluoridation is a process that adjusts the fluoride’s natural level, bringing it to the level recommended for decay prevention (0.7 to 1.2 parts per million).

According to former U. S. Surgeon General David Satcher, “Fluoridation is the single most effective public health measure to prevent tooth decay and improve oral health over a lifetime, in both children and adults.”

Fluoride works by stopping, or even reversing, the tooth decay process. It keeps the tooth enamel strong and solid by preventing the loss of important minerals from the tooth enamel and it promotes repair of tooth enamel.

Those who benefit most from fluoride are children up to 13 years old. As Dr. Lynch explains, fluoride systemically is incorporated into the teeth of children. Adults also benefit from fluoride because saliva re-circulates it and aids in tooth protection topically.

Studies show that water fluoridation can reduce the amount of cavities children get in their baby teeth by as much as 60 percent and can reduce tooth decay in permanent teeth by nearly 35 percent.

Where’s the missing fluoride?

The first community water fluoridation program began in 1945 in Grand Rapids, Mich., and although these programs have grown nationwide, only 65.8 percent of the United States population using public water supplies receives fluoridated water containing protective fluoride levels. And even in communities that have optimally fluoridated water, individuals may be missing out on the decay preventive effects of fluoride since their home water filtration systems remove it from water. In particular, certain types of treatments, such as reverse osmosis and distillation, totally remove fluoride from the water.

Also, more and more families are using bottled water. According to the International Bottled Water Association, the average American now consumes 2.3 eight-ounce servings of bottled water per day. Unfortunately, the vast majority of bottled water does not contain optimal or often even trace levels of fluoride.

What can be done?

In November 2002, the ADA adopted a policy calling for the inclusion of the fluoride content on bottled water labels. It also called for information on a system’s effect on water fluoride levels to be included with each home water treatment system.

So far, only Moen’s PureTouch filtering products have received the ADA’s Seal of Acceptance in the association’s new category of water filtration systems because they leave the fluoride in the water.

“PureTouch products not only improve water’s taste and reduce odors, but also reduce harmful impurities while leaving in beneficial fluoride,” says Laura Wolverton, Moen senior product manager.

The PureTouch collection of products includes: PureTouch AquaSuite—Moen’s under-the-sink filtering system which sits next to existing kitchen or bath faucets, PureTouch Professional and PureTouch Euro kitchen faucets, featuring convenient pullout spouts with a built-in filter, and the PureTouch Classic kitchen faucet, which is a fixed-spout model with built-in filter.

All PureTouch models have a stylish design that blends well with any décor. They also include easy-to-change filters and indicator lights that tell you when it’s time to change out the filter.

“When we designed the PureTouch line of filtering faucets and under-counter filtration systems, keeping fluoride in the water was one of our main goals,” says Wolverton. “Many of us are parents, too, and we understand the importance of fluoride, especially in the prevention of tooth decay in children.”

Fresh, great-tasting water and beneficial fluoride for your teeth—we’ll all drink to that!

For more information about Moen’s PureTouch line of filtering faucets, contact Moen Incorporated at 25300 Al Moen Drive, North Olmsted, Ohio 44070-8022, call toll free (877) DRINK H20 (877-374-6542) or visit its Web sites at or

For more information about fluoride, visit

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