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Is Alkaline Water Beneficial For Teeth?

May 02, 2014

By Dean George

Most everyone knows that what we eat and drink affects our tooth enamel, but did you know that drinking alkaline water may help neutralize harmful tooth acid that leads to cavities and bad breath?

Reportedly alkaline water changes the pH balance in the mouth. If our body’s pH is out of balance, bacteria like Streptococcus mutans and Streptococcus sobrinus feed on the acids in our mouth, wearing down tooth enamel and eroding teeth.

Researchers in Tokyo and Canada have claimed that alkaline water helps freshen breath and protects against cavities, but not much research has been done in the U.S. on those oral health benefits.

water ionizer

What exactly is alkaline, or iodized, water? Spring water is natural alkaline water that becomes “alkanized" from mineral absorption as it passes over rocks. Usually alkaline water is produced by an “ionizer,” a device that alters the chemical composition of the water by using electricity to manipulate the water molecule.  Water that has been ionized becomes either alkaline or acidic, meaning that the pH has been adjusted up or down.

“Anything that’s high in alkaline is good for neutralizing the acids in the mouth,” says Tammy Goouweloos, a Canadian dental hygienist who adopts a holistic approach to oral health.

Many bodies with high acid counts have pH balances at 6.6 or lower with unhealthy results. This is likely due to modern diets high in acidity, lack of exercise and certain environmental factors. Saliva somewhat neutralizes the unhealthy acid, but supposedly drinking alkaline water with a high pH gets the body back in balance.

The pH scale spans from 0 to 14 with 7 considered neutral and 14 very alkaline. Alkaline water proponents claim that drinking ionized water with a pH between 8.2 and 11.0 counters acid and raises the pH balance to a more natural level between 7.3 to 7.4.  At least 5 glasses of alkaline water daily need to be consumed daily to maintain the desired pH level on a regular basis.

Other benefits of alkaline water include better hydration, improved mental clarity, more energy, weight loss and signs of reduced aging. But Beth Czerwony, a Cleveland Clinic registered dietitian, says science doesn't support those claims.

“There have been no empirical studies showing that alkaline water has health benefits,” Ms. Czerwony says. “If and when there are, they’ll be worth discussing.” Czerwony says our bodies maintain a healthy pH balance on their own.

“Our bodies are wonderful machines,” she says. “If there is an imbalance, we have ways to correct it. For example, if your blood becomes too acidic, you breathe out more carbon dioxide to bring the levels down.”

Until substantive research is held on the benefits of drinking alkaline water, Czerwony says consuming healthy amounts of regular water is fine. “Water is great,” she says. “This may be a case where you slap a ‘natural’ label on water and charge double, and people want to believe that it’s worth more.”

Sources: Savannah Tribune, livestrong.com, health.clevelandclinic.org, webmd.com

Photo source: minglecity.com

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