Don’t buy this bottled water at Walmart

You might think that all the bottled waters you can buy at Walmart are basically the same. After all, it’s just water — you drink it, you get hydrated, how much more can there be to it? Turns out that there’s one type of water bottle that Walmart sells that you should definitely steer clear of: acidic enhanced water.

Enhanced water — any of the water drinks augmented with additional flavors, vitamins, and/or minerals — can pose a serious risk to your dental health, according to the Washington Post.

As Edmond R. Hewlett, a professor at the UCLA School of Dentistry and consumer adviser for the American Dental Association, explained to WaPo, 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 want to avoid stripping away your enamel, steer clear of certain enhanced water brands at Walmart.

Which water brands should you avoid?

The main culprit here is the water’s pH level. The pH level, you may remember from middle school chemistry class, is the number that tells you how acidic something is. The lower the pH, the higher the acid level, and the bigger the risk to your enamel. Most tap water has a pH of 6-8, which is about neutral. When the level gets below four, your teeth are in serious danger.

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. The Frost Riptide Rush, Lemon-Lime, and Orange flavors fall under “seriously erosive,” and seven other flavors fall under “erosive.” Same with Powerade — twelve flavors are seriously erosive. Other erosive waters on offer at Walmart include Propel, Dasani’s flavored sparkling waters, and a bunch of Vitaminwater flavors.

So next time you find yourself in Walmart’s beverage aisle shopping for enhanced water, check the pH. Or, if you want to be extra safe (and protect the planet), bring your water from home. Your enamel will thank you.

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