The issue of the role rising bottled water consumption is playing in the increased prevalence of tooth decay in children was discussed at World Dental Congress in Montreal.

Social change and junk food are blamed for the rise in tooth decay, but dentists suspect that bottled water may also be a factor. "It's not the water that's causing the decay," said Jack Cottrell, D.D.S., president of the Canadian Dental Association (CDA). "It's the lack of fluoride."

People are turning away from tap water which for over two-thirds of Americans for example contains all the fluoride that they need to prevent tooth decay and, say dentists, most bottled waters don't have enough fluoride.  "If bottled water is your main source of drinking water, you could be missing the decay-preventive benefits of fluoride," the American Dental Association has warned.

However, it has been pointed out by trade associations that many US water bottlers do produce fluoridated products.