Whether consumed straight, mixed in a cocktail, or added to fruit juice, sparkling water is a top choice among many consumers. In recent years, the public has become aware of negative health effects from sugary sodas, so many are choosing to switch to sparkling water as their beverage of choice. While this decision certainly can help prevent the onset of diabetes and other illnesses, you also need to consider your dental health.
Pure, regular, flat water remains the best liquid for your general health and dental health, but does drinking sparkling water damage your teeth over time? First, let’s define sparkling water.
Sparkling Water vs. Soda Water vs. Mineral Water
Sparkling water is the same as seltzer water. It is simply water that has been carbonated by the addition of carbon dioxide (CO2). The CO2 makes the water bubbly but does not add any calories or sugar. However, CO2 does lower the pH of the water, causing it to become more acidic than regular water. Some sparkling water brands also add flavorings to their products. These flavorings may or may not further lower the pH.
Soda water or club soda is almost identical to sparkling water. It simply contains dissolved minerals like sodium chloride and disodium phosphate, among others. Again, soda water has no calories and no sugar, but it does have a lower pH than regular water.
Finally, mineral water typically comes from a natural well, spring, or aquifer. The minerals in this water are usually naturally present, although the manufacturer may add them. Mineral waters are available in both carbonated form or without added CO2.
Is the Acidity Harmful to Your Teeth?
You already know that sparkling water doesn’t contain sugar, so they can’t harm your teeth by feeding bacteria. Because of the dissolved carbon dioxide, most sparkling water brands have a pH of around 5.0 – 5.5, rating as slightly acidic. Pure, flat water has a pH of 7.0, completely neutral. So is this somewhat acidic pH enough to make sparkling water harmful to your teeth? Probably not.
Take diet cola, for instance. It also contains no sugar, but it is significantly more acidic than sparkling water with a pH range of 3.0 – 3.3. Frequently consuming pop or even diet soda is a bad idea for your dental health. However, the slight acidity of sparkling water is probably not cause for concern, with the caveats below.
The Bottom Line
If you do enjoy sparkling water, be sure also to drink regular water throughout the day – both for hydration and to “wash” your teeth. Also, refrain from drinking sparkling water before bed and after brushing your teeth. Finally, make sure that you visit your dentist every six months so that they can monitor you for enamel erosion and provide you with a professional cleaning.