How Illinois’s Water Can Affect Your Oral Health

When someone thinks about improving their oral health, habits like brushing and flossing may come to mind. However, did you know that your water supply could be affecting your dental health as well? Read on to learn how Illinois's water supply plays a role in your oral health.

Hard Vs. Soft Water

According to, Illinois — and the Great Lakes area — has some of the hardest water in the U.S. Hard water is simply water that is full of minerals, like magnesium and calcium. Hard water can be a bane for many homeowners, as it can ruin appliances and dry out skin. To combat this issue, many people invest in water softeners.

The downside of soft water, however, is it's not as good for your teeth as hard water! Minerals, like calcium, help to build strong jawbones and strengthen teeth by remineralizing them. In fact, hard water is more neutral, so if you eat or drink something acidic — like soda — the hard water does a good job at rinsing away enamel-eating substances.

If you are considering getting a water softener, make sure that your tap still has an option to turn off the filter. This way, you'll be able to drink the harder water, but use softened water for other household tasks.

Fluoridated Vs. Non-Fluoridated Water

Illinois, like most of the U.S., has fluoridation in the public water supply. Fluoride is important for your oral health since it helps to reduce bacteria and slow early decay.

However, some people are concerned about the chemical effects of fluoride; the good news is that Illinois has lowered their levels. So the fluoride in your water should be safe for consumption and safe for the environment. And these lowered levels shouldn't diminish your oral health benefits.

Is there ever a time when you want non-fluoridated water? If you have young children who tend to swallow their toothpaste, then yes, you may want to purchase a filter or bottles of spring water. Too much fluoride can cause a condition called fluorosis. This condition isn't dangerous, but it can cause white or brown mottling on your children's teeth. If you already buy fluoride-free toothpaste, then you may want to drink fluoridated water, so you aren't depriving your teeth of this mineral.

Talk with a dental office like Milner Dentistry in your area for more information on different factors that can affect your oral health.