Bottled water versus tap water


Australians who only drink bottled water are turning their backs on the benefits of water fluoridation, according to the Australian Dental Association (ADA) NSW.

Speaking on the topic recently, ADA (NSW) president Dr Sabrina Manickam said, “Drinking tap water with fluoride has added benefits for your oral health.”

ADA NSW recommends tap water as the primary choice of drink for everyone. It is the most hydrating drink. It is also free of sugar and—where it contains fluoride—reduces the risk of tooth decay.

Dr Manickam added: “Water fluoridation prevents dental decay in all ages. It is a safe, effective and ethical way of providing benefit to everyone in the community, especially those who are disadvantaged.”

Water fluoridation remains the cornerstone population health measure in preventing dental caries, having been endorsed and recommended by more than 150 scientific, health and political organisations throughout the world, including the World Health Organization.

You can read our feature Fluoride Wars in the March issue of Bite magazine.


  1. Dr Sabrina Manickam need not be so concerned—it is unlikely that drinking some good, bottled spring water will ever hurt anyone’s teeth. First, it is a fine, usually very pure, clean beverage. Second, the concentration of fluoride in fluoridated tap water is 1000 times lower than that in fluoride toothpaste. The conc in toothpaste is considered the right amount to have a beneficial surface action on teeth. The conc in tap water cannot possible have any beneficial action. Particularly when you think about how people drink water. Try it out yourself, drink a glass of water and notice where the water goes. More or less straight down the throat, hardly touching the teeth. Of course the fluoride in water used for cooking is another matter. That may slosh around the teeth for a while as you chew the food.
    On the other hand the small conc of fluoride in tap water is enough to exert some of its toxic effect on vulnerable consumers. The most vulnerable to fluoride toxicity are the very young, the very old, those with kidney disease and those whose general nutrition is poor. We are not doing enough to identify and warn those consumers to keep away from fluoride consumption.

  2. With more and more people exercising their free choice and buying bottled water low in fluoride, should the ADA offer a fluoridated bottled water alternative?


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