Dr. Pearl E. Whites
What Bottled Water Are as Acidic as Soda?
Updated: Aug 18, 2022
Our dental practice has a recent uptick in patients who refuse to drink tap water.
The general resason is there are supposed toxins and unwanted minerals in tap water. However, we have also noticed an increase in cavities with several of these patients and have read numerous claims on the internet that bottled water is just as acidic as sodas.
It is well documented that the streptococcus mutans bacteria cause cavities in our mouth and require an acidic environment from 0-5.5pH to do damage. When we brush our teeth with a fluoride toothpaste that threshold gets lowered to 4.5pH. This means it is even harder for the bacteria to cause cavities so the further our mouth can stay away from that 5.5pH threshold the less likely we will get cavities.
AVERAGE pH AMONG POPULAR BEVERAGES:
Sports Drinks 2.94pH (i.e. Powerade, Gatoraid)
Juices 3.13 pH (i.e. orange juice, Ocean Spray, Minute Maid, etc)
Energy Drinks 3.14pH (i.e. Monster, Rock Star, etc)
Sodas 3.15pH (range 2.34 Coca-Cola to A&W Root Beer at 4.27)
Diet Sodas 3.44pH (range 3.02 Pepsi Diet to 4.57 A&W Root Beer Diet)
OUR STUDY Many studies have been produced claiming that bottled water is just as acidic as soda! So we purchased nearly every water bottle brand locally accessible among Southern Oregon and tested them ourselves with a pH meter to verify these studies. The goal of this study is to only determine what the acidic levels of the water in water bottles are to see if they induce cavities or not. Here are the findings:
BAD WATER is any that are acidic enough to cause cavities
Any labeled water bottles that have carbonation or flavoring are just as acidic as soda regardless if the bottle advertises zero sugars or zero calories.
While these waters shown here have a pH ranging 3.1-4.2 pH note that soda pH ranges from 2.3 (Coca-Cola) to 4.5pH (A&W). NO bottled water brands for regular drinking water (non flavored and non carbonated) were acidic enough to cause cavities. This includes all water sources: spring, purified, mineral, sparkling, artesian, or well water.
DECENT WATER pH between 5.5-6.49pH
These waters are just barely above the pH threshold that induce cavities but are still below the EPA national minimum standard of 6.5pH. These likely would not cause cavities but they create a more acidic environment and would be best to not drink these brands if you are trying to avoid cavities. Surprisingly several of these water bottles are also fabricated by soda companies: Aquafina by PepsiCo, Dasani by Coca-Cola, Core by Dr. Pepper, and Pure Life by Nestlé. The claim why several of these waters are more acidic is to preserve their shelf life...but does water really go bad over a short period of time?
GOOD WATER pH 6.5-7.4pH
A healthy mouth hovers around 7.0-7.4pH. Whenever we eat most foods our mouth drops to acidic levels that cause cavities. Drinking these waters act similar to what saliva does in preventing cavities and restoring your mouth to the natural healthy balance it needs. Yes, even tap water from our local area is excellent and often times better than bottled water because of added minerals. Unfortunately none of these water bottles (including tap water in Southern Oregon) contain fluoride, which would be an added shield against cavities! We do endorse any of these brands below and since they are essentially the same, go with the most affordable.
**Smartwater Glaceau, Life WTR, Surfwater Still, Crystal Geyser, Great Value Spring Water, Great Value Nursery Purified Water, Kirkland Purified Water, Central Point tap water, Arrowhead Spring Water, Evian, and Fiji.
EXCELLENT WATER pH >9.0
For those die-hards that want to take your bottled water to the next level and don't mind the alkaline taste. Their pH ranges from 9.1-10.2 and are excellent in rapidly restoring your mouth to a safer environment of preventing cavities. This study only focuses on cavities from an acidic pH source. An IHC study projects that systemically there is no added health benefits whether your water is acidic or alkaline since your body digests it anyway. So only drink this water for preventing cavities.
Generally any bottled water likely will not cause cavities unless it is flavored or carbonated water. There are some water bottles that have better water that prevents the formation of cavities and typically the further from 5.5pH and more alkaline the better the protection. Alkaline water is extremely beneficial for your mouth to prevent cavities but the cost may not justify the protection. The best way to use water as an anti-cavity source is when finished eating or snacking to drink water at the end. This washes the acids off your teeth and fights cavity formation.
Finally, pH scales vary slightly among all the studies and this could be many varying reasons but the numbers below are from the actual bottles themselves.
Red pH that causes cavities
Orange pH that is below the EPA standard
Green pH that is ideal to prevent cavities
Blue pH that is extremely alkaline
Water Bottle Brand
Propel Fitness Water
Sparkling Ice Lemon Lime
Clear American Cotton Candy
Most Dental Office Water (Distilled)
Great Value Distilled Water
Great Value Purified Water
Sam's Purified Drinking Water
Nestlé Pure Life
Signature Select Refreshe
Great Value Springs Water
Great Value Nursery Purified Water (for infants)
Kirkland Purified Water
Tap Water (from Central Point, OR)
Arrowhead Spring Water
Well Water (Grants Pass, OR)
Rain Water (collected in Central Point, OR)
Great Value Hydrate Alkaline Water
BodyArmour Sportwater pH9+