A study published in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine examined the relationship of tap water consumption to blood lead levels and tooth decay in children aged 2-19 years old. Researchers from the University of North Carolina reviewed data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey conducted from 2011-2014. From this data they found that children who reported not drinking tap water were 38% less likely to have a blood lead level ≥3 μg/dL, but also 13% more likely to have dental caries upon examination. Elevated blood lead levels, defined by the CDC as ≥5 μg/dL, are associated with lower IQ, decreased attention span, and decreased academic achievement. Dental caries lead to cavities, tooth decay, and other dental problems. Much of the tap water in the United States contains fluoride, which helps to kill bacteria in the mouth that cause dental caries.
Do you encounter many parents who are concerned about lead levels in tap water and will only drink bottled water? Did you know that Britta water filters will remove lead and other contaminants from tap water while preserving fluoride? If you are avoiding tap water do you make sure to use fluoridated toothpaste and brush teeth diligently?