No one’s going to argue about the importance of drinking water for your health. After all, it makes up 70% of the human body, and numerous processes and organs work much more efficiently when one is properly hydrated. However, while we can all agree that water is important, you may be surprised to find that all sources of water are not equal, even though they may look quite similar at first. This is especially the case when it comes to drinking bottled water.
One factor that affects the quality of bottled water is its pH level. Likewise, if there is fluoride in the water, this may also have a negative effect. An appropriate pH level and fluoride content that is within safe levels are not likely to cause harm, but an acidic pH, for example, will cause damage to tooth enamel. In excess, fluoride may lead to nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, all of which can be signs of acute fluoride poisoning. In order to choose safer water, consider this recent study that compares different bottled water brands.
pH and Fluoridation
As you might expect, what water is initially used, as well as the processes used to filter and clean it, determine the levels of fluoride, the pH levels, and numerous other things that may make a given brand of water safer or less safe to drink. For example, while fluoridation is sometimes artificial, created by the addition of small amounts of fluoride into the tap water system, there are certain bodies of water that naturally contain higher levels of fluoride, and therefore may be more dangerous, particularly if the method for processing said water includes adding significant levels of fluoride.
When it comes to pH level, anything below 5.5 can end up dissolving tooth enamel. This is quite concerning when you consider the fact that enamel is the hardest substance found in the human body. Surprisingly, the study ruled out a large majority of bottled water brands, as they were considered unsafe, particularly for oral health. In the end, only four brands made the cut: Fiji, Just Water, Deer Park, and Evamor. While other brands subject to different processes may be fit for human consumption, dental health is in some ways more fragile than other aspects of health.
To Bottle or Not to Bottle?
If it all seems like too much, there are other ways to stay hydrated. In fact, you may be better off avoiding bottled water altogether, especially considering the fact that most forms of plastic are nonbiodegradable, which means they will not break down into natural components, and instead will sit in landfills as pollution for an indeterminate amount of time. Thinking about it that way, you’d be helping your health by staying hydrated, and that of the planet by minimizing your use of plastic water bottles, or at the very least, repurposing your plastic items to avoid adding more plastic waste.
If you are serious about cutting down on your plastic usage, consider getting a water filter or a water cooler. The water filter will allow you to use tap water from your sink and make it safer to drink by filtering out harmful chemicals. However, if your goal is to filter out fluoride, you will need a reverse osmosis filter, a deionizer, or an activated alumina filter. A standard water filter won’t have any effect on fluoride levels. If you are concerned about what you drink from, ceramics and glassware are much better options to keep your liquids in.
Like the water filter, a water cooler will cut down on the amount of plastic you use. However, the quality of this water depends on where you go to fill up your water cooler. Remember, not all water is created equal. That being said, even water that harms tooth enamel is better for you than soda and other sugary drinks; this is because while water that is acidic may damage teeth, sugar does so at a much faster rate. If you feel the need to drink something other than water once in a while, try juices with no added sugars, or consider juicing fresh fruits and vegetables yourself.