Did you know that around half of New Hampshire households have water provided by private wells? In this post, we’re going to focus on how well water can impact your oral health.
Fluoride Levels for Dental Health
Fluoride has several benefits for dental health: it strengthens tooth enamel, helps prevent cavities, and helps prevent gum disease by reducing plaque buildup. These benefits are particularly valuable for children, as their teeth are still developing.
When you have municipal water, fluoride levels are carefully monitored and maintained by the city or town that manages the water supply. If you have well water, fluoride levels will be determined by naturally-occurring levels of fluoride in the groundwater in your area. In many cases, the fluoride level in your well water will be too low; in some rare cases, it might be too high. By testing your well water, you can determine your fluoride levels and talk to your dentist about adding additional fluoride to your or your child’s water supply.
One great thing about well water is that it often is high in other minerals that are more common in natural water sources, such as calcium and magnesium. Many of these trace elements are excellent for overall health and dental/bone health specifically (there’s a reason mineral water is popular!). Calcium and magnesium work together for bone health, so having well water may be a great supplemental source of these minerals
Contaminants and Testing of Your Well Water
Since your well isn’t managed by the municipal water supply, that means that changes to the groundwater in your area will affect your water. Sometimes you might notice a change in the appearance or taste of your water, but many contaminants or unbalanced minerals would be tasteless and odorless. Some of the more common contaminants in well water that might impact your dental health include lead and arsenic. In addition certain metals like copper or magnesium can impact tooth enamel.
The New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services recommends testing your well water every three to five years to test for contaminants. This testing will let you know about unhealthy contaminants, as well as minerals like calcium and magnesium which are good for your oral health.
After getting the results of your well water test, make sure to talk to your dentist to make sure there aren’t any additives or treatments that will help make sure that your water is safe for your and your children’s teeth!