If you think all water tastes the same, then you don’t drink enough water!
I get it though. After all, it’s just water, right? You drink it, get hydrated, how much more can there be to it? A lot more is the answer to that question. As it turns out, there is one type of bottled water that Walmarts sells and that you should avoid: acidic enhanced water.
Enhanced water is any water that has been “amplified” with additional flavors, vitamins, and/or minerals and it’s a drink that can pose a serious risk to your dental health, according to Washington Post.
Edmond R. Hewlett, a professor at the UCLA School of Dentistry and consumer advisor of the American Dental Association, explained to WaPo (Washington Post), that some of these enhanced waters can cause major tooth erosion, “the incremental dissolving away of the enamel on the teeth, which, over time, can affect their structural integrity, making them hypersensitive to temperature and potentially more cavity-prone.”
So if you’re like most consumers who buy their bottled water from Walmart and want to avoid stripping away at your enamel, shy away from the enhanced goods.
What Water Should You Avoid?
Pay attention to your water’s pH level. The pH level is the number that tells you how acidic something is. The lower the pH, the higher the acidity, and the bigger the risk to your enamel. Most tap water has a pH of 6 to 8, which is about neutral. When the level gets below four, your teeth have entered the danger zone.
According to a study in the Journal of the American Dental Association (via ResearchGate), some enhanced waters fall way below the threshold. Walmart’s enhanced water selection includes Gatorade, which can be a serious risk. Frost Riptide Rush, Lemon-Lime, and Orange flavors also fall under “seriously erosive,” and seven other flavors fall under “erosive.” It’s the same with Powerade — twelve flavors are seriously erosive. As if that weren’t enough, other erosive waters on offer at Walmart include Propel, Dasani’s flavored sparkling waters, and a bunch of Vitaminwater flavors.
So the next time you go to re-up on your bottled supply, check the pH level. Your teeth and body will thank you!
As if it wasn’t bad enough to be mindful of your water’s pH, did you ever consider how you might be possibly ingesting “old” water as well?
I know what you may be thinking. “It’s just water! Water doesn’t go bad! Right?”
While we might all see the “best before 2075” expiration labels on our plastic bottles, nobody is actually paying attention to them because, well, we don’t think to.
Do you know what actually constitutes “old” water? Is it water that’s been left stewing for days, weeks, or months? Or does overnight water pose a potential risk to us, too? We know that it’s a must to drink water every day, but does the age of the water really mean anything? How can the glass of water I use and leave by my bed to re-hydrate in the morning really pose a threat?
Old Water Contains Bacteria, But It’s Generally Yours
Reader’s Digest notes that water left overnight in an open container isn’t exactly sanitary due to the amount of dust, debris, and/or insects that land in it, which may leave a gross film of scum on the surface. Did you know that even closed containers aren’t completely safe? That’s because anything that’s on our skin such as sweat, dust, skin cells, or any kind of discharge like spit or mucus, can end up in the bottle once we take that first sip.
“If it’s allowed to incubate for hours, that could potentially contaminate the water, and make you ill by reintroducing that bacteria,” warns Marc Leavey, M.D., who suggests consuming the bottle in one sitting and then throwing it away. However, since it’s your bacteria, you likely won’t get sick from it. But sharing bottles with other people is not advised, for obvious reasons.
Fun Fact: If you leave a bottle of water in direct sunlight, like in your car, for example, the heat could cause bacteria to grow. Likewise, certain plastic bottles contain chemicals like BPA, which can leach into the water if exposed to sunlight. Certain research links BPA to certain health problems, such as reproductive, neurological, and cardiovascular problems, so it’s a good idea to avoid any extra exposure.
Microbiologist Charles Gerba, Ph.D. also warned, in a conversation with SELF, that bacteria on our fingers can possibly contaminate water too (you’re always safer with a screw cap, FYI). However, even smelly bottles are likely just encrusted with saliva, mouth bacteria, or even some mildew or mold, but there’s likely nothing to worry about.
If you’re really freaking out about the bacteria in old water, or even on the plastic bottle itself, Dr. Leavey suggests, “Avoid putting your mouth to the bottle. Just pour it into a cup or pour it directly into your mouth.” Start paying attention to those expiration dates, too, because they really do matter.