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Bottled vs Tap Water - Oral Health

Many individuals are rightly concerned with the water quality coming from their taps. As a result, they have chosen to drink bottled water as a ‘healthier’ and greater tasting alternative. However, the health benefits of bottled water might not be as significant as advertised.

women smiling and drinking tap water

Bottled Water

The amount of minerals in bottled water changes on a case by case basis. However, studies have confirmed, in general, bottled water contains comparable amounts of minerals to tap water (Azoulay, Garzon and Eisenberg, 2001).

The concern with bottled water is the amount of microplastics present in the water. Orb Media has identified a 1L bottle of water can contain thousands of microplastics (Bingham, 2018). This study examined several worldwide brands and tested more than 250 bottles of water.

An analysis conducted by Schmanski et al. (2018) further supports plastic packaging releases microparticles.   

As well, an investigation carried out by Bosnir et al. (2003) found several plastic products all released phthalate into the water. Phthalate is a substance added to plastic to make it flexible.

Although the level of phthalate released is not considered harmful for human health, they pointed out the need for further assessment.

Tap Water

There is no doubt the quality of drinking water in Australia has improved significantly over the years. It should also be noted that tap water, like bottled water provides beneficial minerals such as calcium, magnesium and sodium.

While tap water provides us with nutrients, it may also contain harmful substances. A study conducted by Harvey, Handley and Taylor (2016) found lead and copper water contamination across Australia. The contamination originates from household pipes, taps and fittings.

Lead and copper are associated with many health concerns, and for this reason it would advisable to avoid copper and lead in plumbing that supplies drinking water (Harvey, Handley & Taylor 2016).

Chemicals have also been found in tap water. In fact, a study done in the US testing tap water collected over a 5 year period showed 267 different toxins found. Of these

  • 93 linked to an increased risk of cancer
  • 78 associated with brain and nervous system damage
  • 63 connected to developmental harm to children or fetuses
  • 38 that may cause fertility problems
  • 45 linked to hormonal disruption

Just as alarming, microplastics have also been found in tap water (Bingham, 2018). This means, no matter which we choose – bottled or tap water – we are likely drinking microplastics. So, what can we do?

Reverse osmosis water filters can be a great solution to remove or significantly reduce the amount of microplastics, copper, lead and other toxins in water. However, by removing these elements, they also remove minerals which are vital for the health of our teeth and bodies. 

If you are concerned your diet does not provide enough minerals, there are water filters available which have a remineraliser filter. The remineralisation process adds trace amounts of minerals back into the filtered water. This way, you get the best of both worlds – harmful substances are largely removed, and beneficial minerals are added back into the water.

Another option is to add ionic minerals from ancient sea beds to the filtered water or a small pinch of good quality salt from ancient sea beds (Eg. Himalayan).

Bibliography

Azoulay, A., Garzon, P. and Eisenberg, M. (2001). Comparison of the mineral content of tap water and bottled waters. - PubMed - NCBI. [online] Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/11318912/?i=2&from=/19890742/related [Accessed 10 Apr. 2019].

Bingham, M. (2018). Water: Tap, Bottled & Microplastics | Orb. [online] Orbmedia.org. Available at: https://orbmedia.org/blog/water-tap-bottled-microplastics [Accessed 10 Apr. 2019].

Bosnir, J., Puntarić, D., Skes, I., Klarić, M., Simić, S. and Zorić, I. (2003). Migration of phthalates from plastic products to model solutions. - PubMed - NCBI. [online] Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12955888 [Accessed 10 Apr. 2019].

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