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Bottled water vs. tap water

Nov. 2, 2009
Bottled water has rapidly become very popular, and it is an upgrade from the many artificially sweetened drinks that have flooded the market. But is bottled water a great improvement over tap water?
By Raymond Hatland, DDS© Dreamstime
Bottled water has rapidly become a very popular drink. In this age of convenience, bottled water fits in very well with many new modern lifestyles. It provides portability and is readily available as purified and sanitized drinking water. It is also an upgrade from the many artificially sweetened drinks that have flooded the market.The question is whether or not bottled water is a great improvement over tap water.On the positive side, tap water is cheap, basically safe and easily available, has fluoride that can help prevent tooth decay, has a neutral or slightly alkaline pH, usually contains some good minerals, and depending on where you are located can have a good taste.On the negative side, tap water can be polluted with many industrial chemicals that are not totally removed by water purification systems, can contain excessive amounts of iron, sulfur, or fluoride, can draw lead or copper from the pipes, and on occasion may be contaminated with bacteria and waste products from occasional flooding.On the positive side, bottled water is safe from bacterial infections, can taste good, is easily portable, can have an alkaline pH, and can be free of fluoride.On the negative side, bottled water is very expensive, usually has a very acidic pH, has no fluoride, may have very few nutritional minerals, and may contain unacceptable levels of the plastic chemicals (bisphosphonates) that leech from plastic containers.Conclusions1.Fluoride in the water is both positive and negative depending on who is drinking it.2. Kids benefit from the fluoride, which helps reduce dental decay. However, this is a doubtful benefit for most adults and there is some concern that the fluoride ion in tap water reacts with the some of the trace chemicals in tap water making them more carcinogenic.3. It is my opinion that fluoride is best applied topically by dentists or hygienists for the most effective protection of teeth with minimal systemic side effects.4. High fluoride concentration tooth gels can be used by high-risk adults and by children under supervision to avoid excess swallowing of the gel. Two to three times a week is often enough to be effective.5. Having an occasional bottle of water is not a health risk. Drinking only bottled water could be a problem. The best of both worlds would be to buy a water filter and alkalizing unit that will purify your tap water and increase the pH of the water up to 9. There are many health benefits in doing this. Alkaline water increases your body’s ability to neutralize excess acid ions that come from the high amount of acid foods and liquids we ingest. This will help the body reduce inflammation, tooth decay, and enamel erosion in the mouth and generalized water retention. Weight loss and lower blood pressure is another benefit.
Raymond Hatland, DDS, attended the University of Illinois in Urbana from 1960 to 1962, and the University of Illinois College of Dentistry from 1962 to 1966, graduating in the upper 20% of his class. He participated in the U.S. Army’s one-year rotating internship program at Ireland Army Hospital in Fort Knox, Ky., receiving advanced training in all specialty areas including oral surgery, fixed and removable prosthodontics, endodontics, periodontics, orthodontics, pedodontics, and oral medicine. Since 1975, Dr. Hatland has taken more than 1,600 hours of continuing-education courses in all of the above areas of dentistry as well as functional orthodontics and many alternative and energy system related courses and seminars, and has written several articles about his periodontal research regarding the reverse gum disease program. Dr. Hatland has been selected as a member of America’s Top Dentists and named Dentist of the Year for 2003 through 2005 by the Consumer Business Review. He is a member of the American Dental Association, the Indiana Dental Association, the Indianapolis District Dental Society, the Holistic Dental Association, and an associate member of the Chicago Dental Society. Dr. Hatland is also a practitioner with the network.