As everyone’s schedules become busier, the convenience of bottled water begins to trump conventional tap water. In fact, according to MarketWatch, Americans’ bottled water consumption has increased significantly over the years with an annual average of 39.3 gallons of bottled water per person in 2016.
Water’s health benefits are undeniable: it keeps us hydrated, helps maintain the balance of fluids in the body, promotes healthy saliva production, and energizes your muscles by delivering electrolytes. We know that we should be putting down the soda and sugary drinks, but how should we get our water intake? Is bottled water or tap water better for us?
Benefits of Tap Water
One of tap water’s largest benefits is that, in many cities across the U.S., the water is supplemented with fluoride. Fluoride plays a major role in replacing missing minerals from your teeth, keeping them strong and helping to prevent tooth decay.
Many dental professionals recommend adding fluoride to your lifestyle, whether that be through taking fluoride supplements, brushing with fluoride-filled toothpastes and using fluoride mouthwashes, and even getting fluoride treatments in the dentist’s office. The easiest (and free!) way to make sure you’re meeting your fluoride requirements is by simply drinking tap water. To see if your city’s water has fluoride added to it, visit the CDC’s website.
Problems with Bottled Water
When many companies bottle their water, they remove the important minerals (like fluoride) and substances from the water to prevent the minerals from affecting the taste. As a result, bottled water contains fewer nutrients than tap water, and in particular, does nothing to improve your oral health.
While companies claim that minerals affect the taste of water, a study conducted by ABC News in May 2017 showed that people actually preferred the taste of tap water over bottled water brands like Poland Spring, O-2, and Evian.
And not only does bottled water lack necessary nutrients, but it also produces a ton of waste. According to Ban the Bottle, Americans only recycle 23% of the water bottles that they use, meaning many of the bottles end up in landfills, where it will take them 450 years to decompose.
Lastly, bottled water is a terrible value. According to Food & Water Watch, tap water costs just $0.005 per gallon, while bottled water costs $9.47 per gallon. If you drank solely bottled water to reach your recommended 8 glasses a day, it would cost you $1,400 a year!
Have we made our case? Stick with tap water — it’s better for your health, the planet, and your wallet!