A new study has suggested that tap water might actually enhance personal health and reduce risk of cavities in children.
According to Daily Mail, a study out of the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill says that most tap water is treated with fluoride, which helps prevent tooth decay and cavities. Considering that at least one out of every five Americans has one or more untreated cavities, tap water could be the solution.
The study shows that while 3% of people between the ages of two to 19 had lead in their blood, an estimated 50% of them have tooth decay. While many people are afraid to drink tap water, especially since the Flint water crisis, this research still suggests that it could be beneficial for oral health.
Fluoride in water isn’t a new phenomenon, either. Back in 1945, a small amount of fluoride was brought into the tap water of Grand Rapids, Michigan to help prevent cavities and other dental issues. America’s ToothFairy, a foundation advocating for children’s oral health, says that one in every five children does not receive regular dental care. In fact, an estimated 40% of children in the United States have their first cavity by the time they attend kindergarten.
Tooth decay and cavities early on in life may lead to long-term oral issues in adulthood. But could drinking tap water really offer a solution?
According to UPI, researcher Gary D. Slade believes the issue is two-fold.
“Our study draws attention to a critical trade-off for parents: children who drink tap water are more likely to have elevated blood lead levels, yet children who avoid tap water are more likely to have tooth decay,” Slade said. “Community water fluoridation benefits all people … Yet we jeopardize this public good when people have any reason to believe their drinking water is unsafe.”