Is Your Bottled Water Doing More Harm than Good?
Do you drink bottled water? According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, more than half of all Americans drink bottled water and about a third of the public consumes it regularly. Bottled water sales have continued to climb each year. In fact, in 2016, bottled water consumption overtook soda consumption, with Americans drinking more bottled water than soda for the first time.
It appears that bottled water is here to stay. 94% of Americans reported that they believe bottled water is a healthier option than soft drinks. Despite reports of bottled water safety issues, the perception of bottled water’s high quality remains. But, before you purchase that next bottle of the clear stuff, consider if there might be a hidden danger for your oral health hidden in that “healthier” option: the pH level of the bottled water.
Recall that higher pH levels help keep caries-causing bacteria in check and allow minerals to redeposit on or stay put in the enamel surface, leading to healthier mouths. Low pH levels caused by eating or drinking or from the cariogenic (cavity-causing) bacteria cause minerals to dissolve out of the enamel, leaving teeth weakened. What we put into our mouth can have a measurable impact on our tooth health.
While pure water has a neutral pH of 7, many brands of bottled water, though purified, are surprisingly acidic. This is particularly true of those brands produced by the soda companies. Some brands of bottled water have a pH as low as 4 (the same as tomato juice or beer). Independent testing also has found that the manufacturer’s provided pH is higher than the water actually was during testing. As you consider the pH levels of your drinking water, you may also be interested to know that the EPA recommends municipal water have a pH level between 6.5-8.5.
It’s probably unrealistic to memorize the pH levels of all bottled water you might come across. It’s probably more helpful to look up the water you most commonly consume and make changes or find alternates if you discover that your choice is less than ideal for your oral health.
Of course, one of the simplest ways to deal with the problem is not to buy bottled water and to drink more tap water as it tends to have a more neutral pH and it’s also much less expensive. Both the Mayo Clinic and the World Wildlife Foundation have stated that drinking tap water in a reusable bottle is as healthy or healthier than drinking bottled water. Further, the WWF points out that not only is tap water far safer the planet, in some places it’s better regulated than bottled water. Switching back to tap water is a little change that will have both your teeth and your wallet thanking you.
So, to help keep your teeth in great shape and not let your attempts to make better choices accidentally derail you:
- Educate yourself about the pH levels of bottled water you consume and make adjustments if needed to your purchasing habits.
- Drink tap water from a reusable, refillable water bottle when possible.
- Rinse with water that has a pH of 7 or higher after meals and snacks to help reduce your risk for cavities.
Below is a list of common water and their pH. Please note: CariFree did not do the pH testing of these products. Source
Acid levels (+ or – 10%) Low = BAD, 7.0 = neutral, over 7.0 = Good
- Alkalized Ionized water: 9.5 to 11.5
- Tap Water: 7.00 (neutral)
- Penta Water: 4.0
- Distilled Water: 4.0
- Purified Water: 4.0
- Aquafina (made by Pepsi): 4.0
- Dasani (made by Coke): 4.0
- Glaceau Fruit Water: 4.0
- Le Blue Water: 4.0
- Metro Mint Water: 4.0
- Pellegrino: 4.0
- Perrier: 4.0
- Smart Water: 4.0
- Vitamin Water: 4.0
- Reverse Osmosis Water and Purified water: 4.5 – 6.0 (depending on source)
- Ice Age Glacial Water: 4.5
- Appalachian Springs Water: 5.0
- Poland Springs Water: 5.0
- Pure American Water: 5.5
- Dannon Spring Water: 5.5
- Arrowhead Water: 7.0
- Crystal Geyser Water: 7.0
- Deep Park Water: 7.0
- Eldorado Springs Water: 7.0
- Supermarket Spring Water: 7.0
- Biota water: 7.5
- Fiji Water: 7.5
- Whole Foods 365 Water: 7.5
- Zephyrhills Water: 7.5
- Eden Springs Water: 7.9
- Deep Rock Water: 8.0
- Evamore Water: 8.0
- Fiji Water: 7.5
- Alkalized Ionized Water: 9.5 to 11.2
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