Q: Water is Water, Right? Wrong!

By Dr. Cheryl Bresnahan

Drinking WaterEverybody knows that drinking water has better health benefits than drinking soda.

What you may not know is that not all bottled water is created equal, and, depending on your bottled water of choice, it may actually be harming your teeth with each drop.

Inside the Bottle

Bottled water is manufactured by soda companies, and, in our health conscious society, it’s become a billion dollar industry that’s now surpassed soda production.

In order to get shelf stability of the water, those companies, with the exception of a few, use extreme filtration or ozonation which tends to make the water acidic. Extreme filtration purifies the water but as a result also removes all the healthy minerals out of the water which creates dead water similar to acid rain. Dead water will seek to absorb minerals from your bones, joints and muscles as it passes through your body which is not healthy. Some bottled water companies have added these minerals back into the water listed in the ingredients section.

They also use ozonation to disinfect or kill bacteria in the water by infusing oxygen into the water. Oxidizing water is opposite to anti-oxidants where it creates free radicals in your body which causes inflammation.

The Impact of pH on Your Teeth

Rule of Thumb: The lower the pH, the more acidic the beverage.

The average pH of bottled water is 4 which is almost comparable to drinking soda. Anytime you consume beverages below a pH of 7, acid erosion of the tooth surface starts which dissolves the enamel and exposed root surfaces and contributes to the formation of cavities. Research has shown that consuming beverages below a pH of 3 is extremely erosive to dissolving the tooth surface.1

Drinking beverages between 3 – 4 is erosive, and drinking beverages with a pH above 4 is minimally erosive. Keep in mind that enamel breaks down at a pH of 5.5 whereas exposed root surfaces break down at a pH of 6.7.

Carbonated water produces carbonic acid which brings the water pH to about 5. Be especially leery of added flavorings in water because they usually have citric acid which brings the pH to 4.

Below is a list of commonly available water in Whitewater, WI:

Water SourcepH Level
Whitewater’s City Water7.4
Aquafina (Reverse Osmosis) 4.0
Chippewa Spring Water6.4
Dasani (Reverse Osmosis) 4.5
Distilled Water Walmart 5.0
Evian Natural Spring Water7.2
Fiji Natural Artesian Water7.7
Gerber Pure Water6.5
Great Value Purified Drinking Water (Ozone, Reverse Osmosis)6.5
Ice Mountain 100% Natural Spring Water6.0
LaCroix Sparkling Water (Carbonic Acid)5.0
Life Water (Reverse Osmosis)6.4 - 7.4
Nestle Pure Life Purified Water6.5
Nestle Splash Flavored Water, Lemon, Acai, Grape (Citric Acid)4.0
Nice! Kiwi & Strawberry Flavored Sparking Water Beverage (Citric acid) 4.0
Niagara Purified Drinking Water (Reverse Osmosis) 6.4
Perrier Lime5.28
Propel Fitness Water (Citric Acid)3.37
Smart Water (Distilled) 7.0
San Pellegrino Sparking Natural Mineral Water (Carbonated)5.0
Vitamin Water (Reverse Osmosis, Contains Fructose Cane Sugar)3.0 - 3.7
Sam’s Choice Purified Drinking Water (Ozonated)6.5
Infuster

Great Gear’s Infuser Water Bottle.

So What’s the Best Water to Drink?

Tap water is healthier to drink than any bottled water as determined by the EPA and best of all, it is free! Tap water has an average pH of 7 and Whitewater’s city water has a pH of 7.4 and their water quality is highly regulated by the EPA and DNR.

If you are concerned about bacteria in the water, fill up a pitcher of water and keep it in the refrigerator which decreases the bacteria in the water.

If you want the water to taste better, try infusing it with fruit using an infuser like Great Gear’s Infuser Water Bottle pictured at the right. Infusers allow you to place vegetables or fruit in the center of the decanter, so that the natural flavor is absorbed into the water. Be aware that adding lemon to water lowers the pH of the water because lemons have a pH of 2.25.

Try adding cucumber to the infuser, it makes a very refreshing tasting water!


Footnotes

1 JADA’s 2016 pH Beverages in the United States (PDF)

Dr. Cheryl Bresnahan is a licensed dentist and the founder of Dental Perfections in Whitewater, WI. If you'd like to ask her a question, please visit the Ask Dr. Cheryl section of our Web site.