Distilled Water: Truth and Myth

Truth: Distilled water is purified water.

What exactly does ‘purified’ water mean? Purified water is water that has been treated to the point at which there are few or no remaining Total Dissolved Solids (TDS). TDS include dissolved minerals, dirt, and other inorganic substances that are suspended within the water.

Myth: If we use distilled or deionized (purified) water, we don’t really need to use any sort of dental water treatment.

As stated above, purified water has had all TDS removed from the water, but this does not mean that it is bacteria free. In fact, TDS can sometimes help to prevent bacteria growth in dental unit water lines. When all TDS have been removed from the water it is actually easier for bacteria to grow and to eventually form biofilm. This does not mean that the answer is to always use tap water, especially in areas with very hard water. Hard water can damage equipment and form mineral deposits on the walls of dental unit water lines. When combating the growth of bacteria and biofilm in your water lines the best solution is to use distilled water in combination with a regular maintenance waterline treatment or constant waterline treatment, like a straw. This combination will maintain your waterlines to below the EPA guidline of 500 CFU/ml and prevent the buildup of biofilm. Be sure to always read the full label of your water treatment product to ensure that the levels of HPC bacteria in your lines are being properly controlled.

Adrian Chynoweth