Does bottled water have fluoride in it?

Most bottled water is low in fluoride and lacks sufficient fluoride levels to prevent tooth decay.

However, most municipal drinking water sources do include fluoridation to reduce dental caries.

Drink tap water.  Your dentist and your bank account will be happier.

Read the AMA Council on Science and Public Health Report on “Safety of Bottled Water”.

Russell W.H. Kridel, M.D.

Why is salt the new target in the media?

You may have seen or read about a subway ad campaign that kicked off this week in NYC by the city’s Department of Health that urged consumers to reduce salt consumption.

NYC Subway Campaign

The concern over public salt consumption and salt levels in common food products is not really new news. In a 2006 Report on the Promotion of Healthy Lifestyles, the AMA Council on Science and Public Health addressed the issue of reducing the population burden of cardiovascular disease by reducing sodium intake. You can read a summary of the report here.

The CSAPH stated the public health advice to reduce sodium intake, such as that recently in NYC, is intended to influence the overall distribution of sodium intakes and, thereby, the incidence of hypertension in the population. With an appropriate food industry response, combined with consumer education and knowledgeable use of food labels, the average consumer should be able to choose a lower sodium diet without an inordinate level of dietary restriction, inconvenience, or loss of food enjoyment.

If we could change what the food companies and restaurants do, we can change the consumer’s mindset. And the result will be less cardiovascular disease and improved health overall for our population.

Russell Kridel, MD


Are flu vaccinations just for high-risk groups, like the elderly?

No. Flu vaccinations are not just for high-risk groups. The current policy states that routine annual influenza vaccinations are recommended for all adolescents and adults age 6 months and older.

Optimally, vaccination should occur before the onset of influenza in the community. Therefore, vaccinations are offered as soon as a vaccine is available to the public.  In addition, vaccinations are made available throughout the flu season as long influenza viruses are circulating in your community.

Previously, it was recommended that persons at high risk for complications from influenza should be the priority.  But, that is no longer the case.

Read the AMA Council on Science and Public Health Report on Influenza and Influenza Vaccine.

Russell Kridel, MD

Why is there so much concern about sugar-sweetened beverages?

Consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages has been strongly and consistently associated with obesity and a number of related cardiometabolic conditions such as type 2 diabetes and coronary heart disease. A child’s risk of becoming obese increases by 60% for every additional sugary drink consumed per day.  And, women who drink one sugar-sweetened beverage each day have almost twice the risk of diabetes.

Americans consume 200 to 300 more calories each than we did 30 years ago.  And, nearly half of these extra calories come from sugar-sweetened drinks, often displacing other foods and drinks rich in nutrients from a diet, such as skim milk and whole fruit. For example, a 20-oz serving of a sugar-sweetened  soda contains the equivalent of 16 packets of sugar.

Limiting consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages will improve your health.  An average person would lose about 9 pounds a year by eliminating sugar-sweetend beverages from their diet.  For example, substituting water for one 20-ounce soda will save you about 240 calories.

Read the AMA Council on Science and Public Health Report on sugar-sweetened drinks.

Russell Kridel, MD

Is bottled water healthier or safer than tap water?

The oversight and safety of public drinking water in the U.S. is of such high quality that in the vast majority of cases little medical need exists for the public to choose bottled water over public drinking water other than convenience and social habit.

Although bottled water is generally no healthier or safer than most tap water, consumers are paying 1000-2000 times the cost of tap water to obtain bottled water, which in many cases is simply municipal water that has been subject to additional treatment. Read the AMA Council on Science and Public Health Report on “Safety of Bottled Water”.

Russell W.H. Kridel, M.D.