Most physicians, nutritionists, and dentists will agree that staying hydrated is critical to our overall physical health. And this means drinking at least eight, 8-ounce glasses of water per day. However, because the tap water that comes from most municipalities contain trace amounts of microorganisms, nitrate, and even arsenic, many individuals prefer to drink bottled water. However, several studies show that bottled water, particularly the ones with high or low pH levels, can cause dental caries, also known as cavities.
For those who are unfamiliar with pH, it stands for potential hydrogen. When used in the context of water, pH refers to the amount of free hydrogen and hydroxyl ions that it contains. To further put this into context, the pH in water, whether it comes from the tap or bottled, can be anywhere from 0 to 14. A pH of 7 indicates neutral. Meanwhile, a pH that is below 7 means that the water is highly acidic, and a pH that measures greater than 7 means that the water has high alkalinity. Drinking water that is too acidic or too alkaline can cause cavities.
How Does Drinking Non-Neutral pH Water Lead to Cavities?
In short, healthy pH levels in the oral cavity should be between 6.7 and 7.3. And this is achieved via saliva production. When an individual consumes bottled water with a pH that is greater than 7, it can cause the natural pH in the oral cavity to drop to 5.5 or lower, which, in turn, erodes tooth enamel and eventually causes cavities. According to alkalinewaterplus.com, some of the bottled water brands that fall outside of a neutral pH include the following:
These brands of bottled water all have an acidic pH, meaning that they each pose a significant risk in terms of contributing to cavities. Of course, this is assuming that an individual is consuming the recommended equivalent of eight 8–ounce glasses of water each day.
Common Signs of Cavities
Whether they are the result of plaque build-up, consuming too many sugar-laden foods or beverages, or drinking bottled water with a non-neutral pH, the tell-tale signs of cavities are generally the same in that most will experience the following:
- Holes or craters that form on tooth surfaces
- Chronic bad breath
- Tooth discoloration
- A foul taste in the mouth
- Experiencing pain while biting or chewing
In some cases, an individual may not experience any symptoms at all. However, the impacted tooth will be more susceptible to being fractured. If this happens, it can trigger significant pain and will likely require some form of dental restoration to repair the tooth.
Final Thoughts on Bottled Water pH Levels
Even though drinking plenty of water is good for your overall health, you should avoid bottled water that contains a high or low pH. Fortunately, this is not too hard to do as most manufacturers will print their bottled water pH levels right on the packaging. However, if you have already developed a cavity, you’re encouraged to schedule an appointment with Mountain View Dental, one of Utah’s leading general and cosmetic dentistry practices.