The International Bottled Water Association (IBWA) issued the following statement regarding a March 6, 2012, New York Times article concerning recent increases in children’s cavity rates:
“The New York Times article, Preschoolers in Surgery for a Mouthful of Cavities, (March 6, 2012), notes that the causes of increased dental problems in young children vary, from a simple lack of brushing to too many sugary foods and beverages. Unfortunately, the article also incorrectly states that drinking bottled water instead of ‘fluoridated tap water’ can contribute to tooth decay. This statement is both inaccurate and misleading. There is absolutely no correlation between consumption of bottled water and an increase in cavities. In fact, bottled water does not contain ingredients that cause cavities, such as sugar.
For consumers who want fluoride in their drinking water and wish to choose bottled water, approximately 20 IBWA member companies make clearly-labeled fluoridated bottled water products under stringent FDA guidelines. For a complete list of these brands, which are available in many markets across the country, please visit IBWA’s Website, http://www.bottledwater.org/fluoride.
There are many sources of fluoride, and the amount of fluoride exposure varies greatly by community and individual. Approximately two-thirds of communities in the Unites States fluoridate their public drinking water supplies. Those who live in communities that do not fluoridate public drinking water, who get their drinking water from wells, or who filter their fluoridated tap water will not be getting fluoride in their drinking water. Fluoride is present in many foods and beverages and almost all toothpaste contains fluoride. Too much exposure to fluoride can lead to a condition called fluorosis, which results in stains to the teeth. Consumers should therefore look at how much fluoride they are receiving as part of an overall diet and should contact their health-care provider or dental-care provider for their recommendation.
As a packaged food product, comprehensively regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), bottled water labels must contain the name and place of business of the bottler, packer or distributor, and virtually all bottled water products provide a telephone number. With this information, consumers may contact the bottled water company directly to obtain information about the product. Bottled water companies must also follow fluoride labeling guidelines should fluoride be added to the product or be present at a naturally occurring level as set for the by FDA regulation (21C.F.R. §165.110(b)(4)(ii)(A-D)).”