Save Tooth Enamel: Don’t Drink the (Acidic) Water
Antonia M. is a typical, healthy 33-year-old, who eats fruits and vegetables, avoids sweets and sugary drinks, exercises regularly, and follows her doctor’s directive—keep well hydrated and drink lots of water. So, how could it be that she has cavities and discolored teeth?
That’s what she asked at her recent dental check-up visit. “I can’t understand how I have tooth decay, when I am careful to eat right, avoid sweet sodas, and drink plenty of water,” she said.
It came as a total shock to learn that water—the very thing considered “totally safe” for teeth—is the likely culprit. In fact, she was continually bathing her teeth in a caustic liquid by drinking a brand of water with a low PH. That can be like drinking dilute acid that can quickly create an ideal climate for tooth decay.
Many patients like Antonia fall unwittingly into this trap. They make the well-intentioned switch from sodas to water, and think they are in a cavity-free zone. But most people are not aware that not all water has a neutral—or healthy—pH. Certain waters with a low pH—are acidic—and make teeth an easy mark for erosion. The enamel that gives our teeth their pearly white color–just wears away. The sad fact here: Enamel can never grow back. And teeth with thin enamel can look yellowed.
The pH number is the acid-alkaline level on a scale from 0 to 14. A pH of seven is “neutral.” More than seven is alkaline, and less than seven is acidic. The values increase in considerable increments, so each pH value below seven—has ten times the acidity than the number above it. Tooth enamel can erode if acidity levels fall to 5.5 pH or lower.
We advise patients to choose their drinks carefully, and check the pH levels—in bottled water in particular. It is surprising to learn that in many cases, tap water is less acidic than bottled water. For example, New York City’s 6.8 pH tap water clocks in at a much safer level than the 3.4 pH of Propel Fitness water.
Here are some bottled water pH levels:
New York City Tap Water