Bottled Water: Friend or Foe?

So, you’re working out, eating kale, ditching the soda, drinking endless bottles of water (and hopefully, recycling the empties!). You’re feeling pretty good about yourself – but, are you doing more harm than good?

Recent studies show that many brands of bottled water and sports drinks contain high and sometimes dangerous levels of acidity. Let’s explain acidity and pH level:

pH (potential of Hydrogen) is a measure of acidity or alkalinity of water soluble substances. The pH value is a number range from 1 to 14 with 7 being the neutral point. 1 is the most acidic value and 14 the highest alkaline (basic) value.

Bottled Water is Safer than Tap Water, Right?

You may think that bottled water is safer and more filtered than most municipal water supplies but it’s not – in fact most municipal water supplies pH is valued between 5.8 – 7.8 on average. And, some bottled water is really just tap water anyway – you’re paying for nothing! The Monroe County Water Authority states that our local municipal (and very inexpensive) water supply has a pH level of 7.5 – perfect!

Drinking bottled water with a high acidic rate can, over time cause “acidosis” – an excess of acid in the blood. Symptoms of acidosis and its cousin “alkalosis” (too much alkaline in the blood) are:

  • • Confusion
  • • Hand tremor
  • • Lightheadedness
  • • Muscle spasm
  • • Nausea, vomiting
  • • Numbness in face, hands or feet
  • • Insomnia
  • • Frequent headaches
  • • Bloating
  • • Low and/or high blood pressure
  • • Frequent sighing
  • • Bumps on the tongue

Medical studies have also showed that prolonged acidosis can be a factor in cardiovascular disease, High/Low Blood Pressure, Kidney disease, arthritis, diabetes, high cholesterol, and cancer.

Alkaline vs. Ionized Alkaline Water

Mineral water (alkaline water) is becoming popular worldwide but there’s a difference between naturally occurring alkaline water and alkaline ionized water. Naturally occurring alkaline water (San Pellegrino, Perrier, Evian) contains a high concentration of minerals directly found at the source whereas ionized alkaline water (Smartwater, Dasani) most often begins from tap water and minerals are added. There have been studies that link ionized water to heart muscle damage – so again, natural is better.

Many sports drinks which are meant to rehydrate and repair bodies after strenuous workouts also have a high pH level – sounds kind of counterintuitive to drink something unhealthy after trying to get healthy!!

What is the pH Level of your favorite drink?

Below is a listing of pH levels in popular brands of bottled water and sports drinks. If you really want to be sure of what you’re ingesting, pH level testing strips and drops can be found easily on the internet or certain retail stores – you can test anything you drink! And, you can even test the pH level of yourself by placing a test strip on your tongue.

Interesting fact: vinegar has a pH of 2.5 – very similar to some sports drinks – yikes!!

Vitamin Water – 2.49
PowerAde Grape – 2.77
PowerAde – Cherry – 2.81
Gatorade Lemon Lime – 2.97
Gatorade Orange – 2.99
Propel Berry – 3.01
Propel Lemon – 3.03
SobeLife Acai Fruit Punch – 3.22
VitaminWater Orange – 3.23
VitaminWater Zero Orange Rise – 3.46
San Pellegrino – 4.96
Ozarka – 5.16
Perrier – 5.25
San Pellegrino – 5.3
Wegmans Spring – 5.5
Perrier – 5.5
Dasani – 5.72
Poland Spring – 5.8
Voss – 6.0
Aquafina – 6.11
Nestle PureLife – 6.24
Walmart – 6.5
Arrowhead – 6.83
Evian – 6.89
Fiji – 6.90
SmartWater – 6.91
Monroe County Tap – 7.5

How Drinking Bottled Water Affects Your Teeth

Teeth are also affected by drinking unsafe bottled water and sports drinks. Most bottled water does not contain fluoride – a safe and effective tool that not only strengthens your teeth but it helps fight cavities, helps wash away cavity-causing bacteria, fights dry mouth (which leads to decay and gum disease) and it helps keep your saliva at a healthy pH level. Municipal water (in most areas) contains the proper amount of fluoride necessary for good oral health.

When teeth are constantly being drenched in acid from bottled water and sports drinks, they also become susceptible to “demineralization”, similar to the way some oral bacteria cause demineralization leading to tooth decay.

Bacteria grow in the mouth which then form a “biofilm”. Biofilm metabolizes the sugars also problematic in sports drinks and soft drinks. This metabolism also creates a more acid environment, causing plaque build-up, tooth decay and gum disease.

So, you really need to make wise choices when it comes to bottled water and sports drinks – your health depends on it!

Heinle Dental has provided high-quality dentistry to patients across the Greater Rochester, NY area since 1987. Contact us today at 585.248.2824 to schedule an appointment and learn more about how to improve your dental health!