Bottled Water: Boon Or Bane?

Bottled water may taste better than the water that comes from the tap. But it's not as good for growing children, new research shows, because it lacks fluoride, a key ingredient that helps prevent tooth decay.

CBS News2 Correspondent Trish Bergin of CBS Station WCBS-TV in New York reports that more and more children are arriving to at dentists' offices with mouthfuls of cavities. The suspected culprit isn't candy or soda, but the bottled water that is in vogue in many communities these days.

Dentists say children need fluoride to help them develop stronger teeth, preventing 50 percent of cavities from forming. Fluoride is present in the tap water of many communities, but not in the bottled water you get in the supermarkets.

The issue may prompt the U.S. Centers for Disease Control to start collecting data next year.

Even though researchers do not have solid numbers linking bottled water and children's teeth decay, Wanda Davis isn't taking any chances. The New York parent says she will stick with tap water for her children.

Dr. Fred More of the New York University Dental School says that even children who drink only botttled water get some fluoride in their diets.

"The sodas bottled in areas where the water is fluoridated will have fluoride in them," he said. "Canned foods and frozen foods prepared where there is fluoride in the water will have fluoride in them."

For added protection, he advises that parents give these children fluoride drops and have them brush with fluoride toothpaste.