is another drink which people may not realise has an effect
on oral health. Increased con-sumption, particularly by children
may put them at greater risk of tooth decay.
This is because
they are not consuming as much fluoridated tap water. Fluoride
in drinking water has been essential to ensuring strong and
healthy teeth for generations of people.
If fluoridated tap water is unavailable then bottled water
is still a better alternative than juice, cordial, sports
drinks, carbonated or uncarbonated drinks.
to maintaining good oral health
and drinks is part of living a balanced life, and it isn’t
necessary to cut out these drinks altogether.
Instead, there are some key things people can do to ensure
that while they are enjoying their choice of beverages, they
are still maintaining their oral health:
- Avoid holding
or ‘swishing’ soft drinks or sports drinks around the mouth
as this increases the likeli¬hood of dental decay and enamel
- Use a straw
where possible as this minimises exposure of the beverage
- Try to drink
chilled soft drinks and sports drinks as cooler temperatures
have been shown to be less likely to encourage tooth erosion.
- Drink fluoridated
tap water as much as possible. Try to follow consumption of
a soft drink or sports drink with a glass of water as it helps
with saliva flow and helps wash the sugars and acids from
such drinks away. Increased saliva flow can assist with neutralising
acid from bacteria and protect teeth.
- Also, make
sure you maintain a routine of brushing
The Australian Dental Association Inc (ADA) supports the addition
of fluoride to bottled water.
by the Prime Minister, John Howard, and Choice Magazine to
consider the addition of fluoride to bottled water are supported
by the ADA.
a survey of fluoride content in still bottled water was published
in the Australian Dental Journal. The average level was less
than 10% (.08 part per million) of the optimum (1.00 part
per million)” says Dr John Matthews, President of the ADA.
that consumption of non-fluoridated bottled water has on teeth
is difficult to determine. It has to be taken in context with
the consumption of other beverages that have grown recently
in popularity. The intake of carbonated drinks, fruit juice
and sports drinks places an individual at far greater risk
of tooth decay than the consumption of non-fluoridated water.
ADA suggests there is a potential link between increasing
decay rates in children and teenagers and increased consumption
of non-fluoridated water. The ADA believes bottled water should
be fluoridated and that the fluoride content should be clearly
marked on the label.
give young children filtered tap water. Parents should be
aware that some filters (reverse osmosis) remove fluoride.
The ADA believes manufacturers of filter systems should clearly
stipulate a filter’s capacity to remove fluoride.
ADA strategy recommended to prevent childhood caries (tooth
• Use fluoride
daily – in drinking water and toothpaste
• Avoid sweet, acidic, sticky foods, especially between meals
• Brush and floss your teeth daily
• Visit your dentist regularly for preventative treatment
and early intervention
Soft drinks often contain a significant amount of sugar –
a 600ml bottle can contain the equivalent of up to 13 teaspoons
of sugar, as well as high acid levels – both of which can
potentially damage teeth. Some also have caffeine, which can
dry the mouth.
contain a high level of available sugars, as well as being
acidic. It is recommended that they be consumed at a mealtime.
so-called sports drinks also have high sugar content and are
quite acidic which is a recipe for dental erosion. This is
particularly the case if used in conjunction with heavy exertion.
Studies into regular consumption of sports drinks show that
they may lead to dental decay and/or dental erosion because
their acid levels have been linked to harming the tooth enamel.
and acid drinks should be limited to mealtimes in order to
maintain healthy teeth and gums.
is the best between meal drink.
popularity of bottled water has also been linked to an increase
in dental decay. A study by the Australian Research Centre
for Population Oral Health indicated that children drinking
non-fluoridated water found in bottled water or tank water
had 52% more cavities in baby teeth than children who drank
fluoridated tap water.
reputable health authorities such as the World Health Organisation
endorse water fluoridation stating it is extremely effective
in helping to prevent dental decay and rates water fluoridation
as one of the top 10 health achievements of the 20th century.
The ADA says
the best way for children to remain adequately hydrated and
maintain healthy teeth is to drink fluoridated tap water where
possible. If soft drinks, fruit juices or sports drinks are
consumed the ADA recommends the following:
* Try not
to hold or ‘swish’ the drink around the mouth as this increases
the likelihood of dental decay and enamel erosion
* Use a straw where possible as this minimises exposure of
the beverage to teeth
* Try to drink chilled drinks as cooler temperatures have
been shown as less likely to encourage tooth erosion
* Drink fluoridated tap water as much as possible. Try to
follow consumption of a fruit juice, soft drink or sports
drink with a glass of water as it helps with saliva flow and
helps wash away the sugars and acids from such drinks. Increased
saliva flow can assist with neutralising acid from bacteria
and protect teeth.