Relieving Dry Mouth: Varying Levels of pH Found in Bottled Water

Compend Contin Educ Dent. 2017 Jul;38(7):e17-e20.


It is estimated that 30% of people older than 60 years suffer from hyposalivation or dry mouth. Drinking water frequently has been recommended as a safe, non-pharmacologic way to combat hyposalivation. The saliva in patients with dry mouth is acidic. Beverages consumed daily may have an erosive potential on teeth. The pH and the mineral content of the beverage determine its erosive potential. An acidic beverage, therefore, may have harmful effects on mineralized tooth structures, causing erosion of enamel, dentin, and cementum. Because bottled water is both convenient and easily available, the authors tested the pH of eight common brands of bottled water. (One brand included two different bottle types, for a total of nine bottled waters tested.) To standardize the pH electrode, pH buffers of 4.7 and 10 were used. The pH was measured using the Denver Instruments basic pH meter. Six recordings were used for each brand and then averaged to report the pH. Two of the bottled water samples tested were below the critical level of 5.2 pH to 5.5 pH, the level at which erosion of enamel occurs. Six of the samples tested were below the critical pH of 6.8, at which erosion of root dentin occurs. The authors conclude that both patients and clinicians incorrectly presume bottled water to be innocuous. Clinicians should be cognizant of the erosive potential of different brands of bottled water to both educate patients and to recommend water with neutral or alkaline pH for patients with symptoms of dry mouth to prevent further deterioration and demineralization of tooth structure.

MeSH terms

  • Drinking Water / adverse effects
  • Drinking Water / chemistry*
  • Humans
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration*
  • Saliva / chemistry
  • Tooth Erosion / etiology
  • Xerostomia*


  • Drinking Water