Tap Water Is the Best Choice

By Christopher L. Schneider, DMD
December 05, 2019
Category: Oral Health

Happy December Streamwood Smiles Family!   Yes, humans need water.  It is essential for life.  Do we really need GMO-free, alkaline water served out of stainless steel "smart" bottle that reminds us when and how much to consume?  The marketing of water as a detoxifying, energizing, health-enhancing, miracle beverage has become a lucrative business.  So, is there evidence to support the hydration hype?

First off, the shift to water is has been a very good shift.  The knowledge is out there that sugary beverages are not a good choice, nutrition wise.  Evidence suggests that drinking sugary beverages, especially soft drinks, is associated with a range of helath issues, including obesity, heart disease, and tooth decay. Most nutrition and public health experts agree that we should limit the consumption of these calories-dense and relatively nutrion-free beverages.  But does that mean we have to buy the premium water?

Before we discuss all the fancy waters out there, do we actually need to drink eight glasses of water a day?  Evidence says "no".  Back in 1945, the US Food and Nutrition Board suggested that "a suitable allowance of water for adults is 2.5 litres daily" (which is about 8 glasses of water a day).  What is overlooked in this recommendation was the note that "most of this quantity is in prepared foods".  In other words, you get most of your water needed from the food that you eat.

Actually, there is no magic amount of water to consume.  We do need to stay appropriatley hydrated, of course.  Depending on what you are doing and where you are, the amount of water needs to be adjusted.  But our bodies are good at telling us how much and when we should drink.  And all liquids--coffee, tea, mashed potatoes!!--count toward your daily comsumption of water.  Besides that your body cannot tell if an H2O molecule came from a fresh-water spring or from a cup of gas station coffee.

Even if water is found in a lot of foods and beverages, pure bottled water is still better for us right?  Wrong. The water you drink does not need to be purchased from a plastic or glass bottle.  The concern is that if you are drinking a lot of bottled water, and it is acidic, it could be eroding the enamel on your teeth and causing tooth decay. A study from Canada, found that 70% of the tested bottled water brands contained high levels of bacteria and generally had more bacteria than tap water.  A 2019 Consumer Report investigation found "that in some cases bottled water on store shelves contains more potentially harmful arsenic than tap water"

It is great to know that in most places in the United States and Canada, tap water is highly regulated and safe.  Not only that, tap water can have less contaminates than bottled water (except  during emergencies that disrupt the clean supply of water).  Another added bonus is that most public water is fluoridated.  For your dental health, fluoride is really the best thing you can do for your teeth.   Flouride  is shown over the course of 70 years to reduce tooth decay both in  adults and children up to 25%.

What about all the marketing hype about water--gluten free; GMO-free;water with added hydrogen or akaline and so on?   To date, there is no real evidence that water induced with hydrogen or akaline is helpful.  I mean just eat fruits and vegetables.  And GMO and gluten free is just silly!

After millions of years of evolution, the human body is perfectly fine with consuming just plain ol' water.  Drink when you are thirsty.  Tap water is ususally the best choice, for your body, for your wallet, and for the environment.

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