Cavities, Filtered or tap water
Erickson Living health and wellness experts can be found at Erickson Living communities all over the U.S. This month our expert is Leslie Rigali, D.O., Medical Director, Brooksby, Peabody, Mass.
Dr. Rigali received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, Mass., and her degree in osteopathic medicine from the University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine in Biddeford, Maine. She completed her internship and residency in internal medicine at Carney Hospital in Boston, Mass. Board certified in internal medicine, Rigali joined Brooksby in October 2006.
Please note: The following questions were submitted by readers. The answers are intended for general information purposes and should not replace your doctor’s medical advice.
Q. I’ve always had strong, healthy teeth, but now I seem to have cavities every time I see the dentist. Why is this happening?
A. Many factors can affect your teeth as you age. Your enamel wears down over time. You may not produce as much saliva as you used to, and many medications can also contribute to a dry mouth. You may develop gum disease. Changes in your vision, muscle weakness, or arthritis may affect your ability to brush and floss as well as you used to.
Talk to your regular doctor to see if you may have a health condition or a medication that is affecting your teeth. Pay close attention when you brush and floss and make sure you are using fluoride toothpaste. Your dentist may recommend an in-office fluoride treatment to strengthen your enamel.
Q. Is it better for older adults to drink filtered water instead of tap water?
A. Tap water from municipal water systems in the U.S. is generally safe for everyone to drink. An exception is if your water supply has been interrupted for a period of time due to a water main break or weather problems. In that case, you should wait to use water from the tap for drinking or cooking until your local government says it is safe. Well water, whether it’s from a private source or a small community well, should be tested regularly. If you have cancer, an immune system disorder, or have had an organ transplant, you should boil well water before using it to drink, cook, or brush your teeth.
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