What’s your preferred water? Tap water? Bottled water? Sparkling water? All of us gravitate toward one over another — but oddly enough each can influence your oral health differently.
Here’s a break down of different types of water and what they mean for your pearly whites.
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) mandates what types of minerals can be found in unfiltered tap water, including fluoride, an essential mineral for healthy teeth. Unless you’re in a third-world country where tap water can be contaminated, unfiltered tap water can be the healthiest option for your teeth. If you have questions about what is in your tap water, you can visit the Environmental Working Group’s Tap Water Database to determine what’s in your local supply.
Filtered tap water is often created when there’s a filter attached to the tap or placed in a pitcher with a filtration device built in. Although the filter may get rid of trace amounts of important minerals like fluoride that occur in unfiltered tap water, in general filters only reduce chlorine for a better taste and odor, as well as zinc, and the health contaminants copper, cadmium, and mercury.
Love bottled water? You’re not alone. So does the rest of America, which consumes an average of 30 gallons of bottled water a year. Some believe it’s a safer, cleaner option than tap water, but is it really? While it must adhere to the standards of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), these standards aren’t often that strict and most bottled water doesn’t include any fluoride, unlike tap water. Bottled water can also be susceptible to bacteria if the bottle is opened and left somewhere warm. Moreover, some bottled water is merely filtered tap water, so you are just paying more for something you could get at home.
Drinks with carbonation, like sparkling water, soda water, and seltzer, are more acidic than those without. However, despite the increased acid level as compared to flat water, research has shown that plain sparkling water’s acidity doesn’t weaken your tooth enamel. Still, it’s probably a good idea to limit yourself to only one glass of sparkling water per day because, like bottled water, sparkling water doesn’t contain any fluoride. Be especially mindful of other ingredients in your sparkling water, as citrus-flavored and/or sparkling water with added sugar will increase your risk for tooth decay.
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