The connection between drinking water and oral health is often overlooked, but did you know it can profoundly affect our teeth? Here, we’ll explore how well water can benefit and negatively affect your overall oral health.
What’s the difference: well water vs. city water
Well water is drawn up from the ground on personal property without the influence or addition of chemicals. City water (otherwise known as municipal water) is provided by the local government. It’s filtered and tested regularly by the EPA. In most places in the United States, fluoride is added to the water to benefit folks in the area.
Is well water safe to drink?
As long as it’s tested annually, well water is safe to drink. If something tastes off, you should plan to test it more frequently.
All well water has different compositions. In some cases, well water contains natural minerals, such as calcium and magnesium, which can help to strengthen tooth enamel, reduce the risk of cavities, and benefit gums.
What to watch out for in well water
Most times, well water doesn’t have enough fluoride, which can be a huge drawback to your oral health. More often than not, if you drink mostly well water, you’re probably not getting enough fluoride. Adequate fluoride in drinking water can strengthen teeth, prevent cavities, and help reverse the early stages of tooth decay.
You might also not get enough fluoride if you’re drinking mostly bottled water. If that sounds like you, make sure you’re taking fluoride supplements as recommended by your dentist.
Does my well water have enough fluoride?
First things first, test your drinking water through laboratory analysis. Contact your local public health department. They’ll be able to come out and have your home water tested. While it’s more probable that your fluoride levels are too low, they could also be too high. What do you do for either instance?
If fluoride levels are too high
If your fluoride levels test 4 mg/L or higher, the CDC recommends having it removed professionally. However, it’s worth noting that this amount rarely occurs in well water. If you see this result, have the water tested again.
If fluoride levels are too low
If fluoride levels are lower than 0.7mg/L ask your dentist about fluoride supplements. Without enough fluoride, teeth aren’t protected enough and can become weak and prone to decay. Currently, fluoride cannot be added to a household’s well water supply.
Should I worry about well water teeth stains?
High fluoride levels can lead to fluorosis, which can stain teeth. The discovery of this reaction to too much fluoride led to the controlled addition in most drinking water in the United States. By controlling the amount of fluoride in drinking water, we can reduce the likelihood of communities who’ll suffer from fluorosis.
Contact your local health department if you’re concerned that your water might have too much fluoride. Once you have more information about your well water supply, you can take steps to add or reduce fluoride levels.
Here’s to Prioritizing Your Oral Health!
Now is the time to protect your dental future. If you’re concerned you or your kids aren’t getting enough fluoride, schedule an appointment with our Dakota Dental. We’re happy to answer your questions about oral health, including the safe and effective use of fluoride treatment and supplements.
In addition to preventative dental care, Dakota Dental can also help with fillings, root canals, Invisalign, cosmetic dentistry, and any other dental services you need.