Water is essential to life, but it is also essential to the running of a dental practice. So how do we know that the water is clean and pure?
If you look to your left when you are sitting in Dr Asif’s chair, you will notice three instruments together beside the spittoon that provide air, water and suction. Dentists need compressed air to power dental instruments, a vacuum system to remove any waste and water to keep the mouth both clean and moist while working.
We are very fortunate to have some of the cleanest water in the world in this country, that is checked constantly to make sure it is a consistently high standard. Every day, Thames Water supplies 2.6 billion litres of drinking water to 9 million people living in London, as well as in the Thames Valley area. It comes partly from underground reservoirs and is partly pumped from rivers.
Water hardness is determined by the level of naturally occurring calcium and magnesium compounds imparted by the soil and rock the water passes through. London’s water is hard, which is due to its chalk and limestone geology, and provides the total amount of calcium and magnesium needed in our diets. However, it’s also what leads to limescale build-up, as well as difficulty in washing out some soap products, whilst some find it affects skin conditions such as eczema.
Our water also has naturally occurring fluoride content of less than one part to every million parts of water. Dentists are in favour of fluoride due to its dental health benefits, but the level isn’t thought to be great enough to have too much impact. With this in mind, it’s important to keep brushing your teeth regularly with a fluoride toothpaste!
Water supplies have chlorine added too, to ensure it is free from any bacteria. Chlorine was first introduced to the water supply in Maidstone in 1897 and brought about a rapid reduction in diseases like cholera, dysentery and typhoid; chlorine is now an essential ingredient to water supplies worldwide.
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