Oral & Vision Health Blog

Bottled Water vs. Tap—Which is Better for You and Your Teeth?

Did you know that in the U.S., we drink an average of about 30 gallons of bottled water each year? That’s about four bottles for every person each week. The only bottled drinks we reach for more often are beer and soda.

With that many people drinking water in a bottle, it begs the question: is it really better for you than tap?

Federal Standards and Safety

Here’s the truth: both must meet similar federal standards to protect all of us from health risks.

  • The American Dental Association endorses the addition of fluoride in public water supplies. That’s good for the health of you and your family’s teeth. With the well-evidenced link between good oral hygiene and good overall health, fluoridated water plays a big role in healthy teeth.
  • The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates bottled water as a food product. FDA drinking water standards are not as strict, nor as well enforced, as those for tap water.
  • The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulates public water supplies used for tap water. Governmental agencies responsible for public water supplies track any incidents of waterborne illness. They must notify the public of several things:
    • Whether a water contaminant is present that exceeds EPA standards,
    • The level of contamination,
    • Potential health effects.
    • What the public can do to protect itself from illness.
  • To ensure that the public water supply is safe, chlorine is added to kill bacteria and fluoride is added to help keep your teeth healthy and strong.
What is fluoride and why is it good for your teeth? 

Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral. In the early part of the 20th century, scientists made a fascinating discovery: people who had more fluoride in their drinking water had fewer cavities. The discovery was significant at the time because back then many children and adults suffered from tooth decay and painful extractions of permanent teeth.

Communities responded by adding fluoride to their water supplies starting in the 1940s, Over the years, health studies have proven fluoride found in community drinking water is a safe and effective way to prevent and control tooth decay. In some cases, it can even reverses tooth decay.

Bottled Water  

Water from a bottle is unquestionably better than sodas or other sugary drinks from the standpoint of oral health. However, during processing bottled water is often subject to reverse osmosis or distillation. Intended to take out substances that can affect the flavor of the water, both of these processes also remove any fluoride that is naturally present in the water. Fluoride content in bottled water varies; read the label. Research is also being shown that some bottled water has an acidic Ph level.


People often claim that they purchase water in bottles for its convenience. Consider, however, that you have to go to a store to purchase it. Once you drink that, you have to return to the store to buy more.

On the other hand, you can use a personalized, decorative, refillable bottle that you have purchased once, and fill it with tap water at work or at home as many times as you need to at no extra cost.

Best of all? Since the tap water is fluoridated, you likely will have the added convenience of fewer dental cavities and fewer, less expensive dentist visits.

Bottom Line

Experts agree that tap water is at least as safe, and possibly safer, than bottled. Using a refillable container provides convenience of purchased bottles of water without the unnecessary costs and, best of all, you get the fluoride you need that protects your great smile as well. 


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