HONOLULU (KHNL) - We're watching our expenses with basically everything, but one thing Americans aren't cutting back on is their consumption of bottled water.
It's a battle of the bottle versus the tap. The type of water you drink may have a dramatic impact on how well you fare in the dentist's chair.
Cheri Botello is a bottled water drinker, she loves it. She swigs about a case of it a week.
"Living in Makakilo I can taste the extra stuff in the water if I drink water from the tap," said Botello. "I like the clean taste of the bottled water."
And that's why she comes in for a checkup about twice as much as the average adult. But it's not just Botello. The beverage marketing association reports in the last 20 years, bottled water consumption is up more than a thousand percent.
Dr. Wilfred Miyasaki says that's bad news for your teeth.
"It lacks fluoride, a lot of the natural minerals that regular water has so bottled water is okay but not in excess," said Mikyasaki. "Fluoride is a hardening material it can harden enamel, harden the root surface and resist cavities."
Last year alone, Americans drank about 3-billion cases of bottled water. If you don't want to make the switch to tap, dentists say one way to protect your teeth is fluoride toothpaste.
"A significant advantage would be to have a fluoride treatment at the dentist office. Professionally applied fluoride can be a great benefit for children but also adults," said Miyasaki.
Bottled water, while fashionable or popular in trend, for kids and adults like cheri. It's a huge culprit for cavities.
Here in Hawaii, military bases are the only places where tap water with fluoride in it is available. As a result, dentists say the State's children have the highest rates of tooth decay in the nation.