This is the worst bottled water to buy at Walmart

If you buy bottled water, there's a good chance you buy it from Walmart. Binge on the wrong bottled water from their shelves for long enough, and you might theoretically be looking at extra trips to the dentist. "What?" you ask, wide-eyed and incredulous. Let us explain. We're not talking about your run-of-the-mill, unflavored still waters. We're talking about "enhanced waters," a market worth nearly $6 billion in 2019 (via Grand View Research). For perspective, that's the amount, according to Número, that Akon is dedicating to build a touristic eco-city in Senegal, and equivalent to what Americans spent on renting videos in 2012 (via Market Place). (Thank god for Netflix.) But while enhanced waters that Walmart offers may be oh-so-much-more-satisfying than their non-enhanced counterparts (which, incidentally, might just be bottled tap water, depending on the brand), they may also be significantly worse for you. 

Just ask The Washington Post. The flavors added to enhanced water are mainly made of citric and other fruit acids, which can lower the pH of your water to below 4.0, at which point, you're entering into dangerous territory for your dental health. When you add carbonation into the mix, you also sip on carbonic acid, which gives you "a one-two punch of acidity." That's nothing to shrug off. The very regular long term consumption of such drinks (both carbonated and uncarbonated) could conceivably erode your tooth enamel. So the next time you're choosing between Walmart's water varieties? Keep the following in mind. 

Which bottled waters at Walmart can potentially damage your dental health?

Tap water boasts dental-friendly pH levels of between 6 to 8. Carbonated, unflavored water won't beat up your teeth, either. Its pH hovers around 5 (via The Washington Post). The American Dental Association reports that most soft drinks, fruit juices, and sports drinks, on the other hand, have alarmingly low pH values ranging between 2.0 to 3.5. How do flavored waters compare? 

2015 Study in the Journal of the American Dental Association measured the pH of popular bottled beverages. It didn't specify whether any were purchased at Walmart, but multiple brands are Walmart offerings. For example, Flavored Propel waters had a pH between 3 and 3.17. Sixteen different Vitamin Waters oscillated between 2.96 and 3.65. Six flavors of SoBe Life Water ranged between 3.15 and 3.53. Five Clear American Water flavors fell between 3.07 to 3.70. While pH levels might vary from bottle to bottle and across brands, these may indicate what to expect. Hint, another brad you can find at Walmart, self-reports its pH level as ranging between 3.5 and 4. La Croix, meanwhile, didn't give a range, but claims that their waters are "less acidic than traditional soft drinks." 

What's the bottom line? If you want to be sure that your water isn't potentially in the tooth erosion danger zone, stay away from any flavored options. Then again, such waters are still better than sugar-filled sodas. Drinking them now and again isn't a dental death sentence.