Is Sparkling Water Bad For Your Teeth?

 

It is true that various acids that we put in our mouths can erode the enamel on our teeth. But we’ve been asked about sparkling water (carbonated water) and whether that can cause damage to your teeth.  Although sparkling water contains nothing more than carbonated water (perhaps with a few minerals) and natural flavors, we didn’t expect it to be as acidic as soda pop, which also can contain phosphoric acid. Unfortunately, sparkling water is still very acidic due to the carbonation which can combine with the water to form carbonic acid.

Yes, Sparkling Water Can Harm Your Teeth!

A group of researchers at the University of Birmingham in the United Kingdom wanted to find out if sparkling water can cause enamel erosion.

First, they measured the pH of the sparkling water and found that it has a pH of right around 3 (ranging from 2.7-3.4). To compare this with other drinks, you can view this article about “Nine Drinks that Can Dissolve Your Teeth”.

This research group took some extracted teeth and placed them in glasses filled with different types of flavored carbonated waters. They found that the sparkling water does eat away tooth enamel.

In fact, they found that flavored sparkling water has as much or more of an erosive effect on teeth than orange juice, which is known to be very erosive to teeth.

The following is what this group of researcher concluded:

“Flavored sparkling waters should be considered as potentially erosive, and preventive advice on their consumption should recognize them as potentially acidic drinks rather than water with flavoring.”

In other words, sparkling water can erode your tooth enamel. Our saliva can repair the enamel through a process called re-mineralization as long as your teeth aren’t being bathed in the acid constantly. Be aware of the amounts of sparkling water that you consume. Some flavored sparkling waters are flavored with citrus flavorings such as lemon, lime, orange, etc. which may contain citric acid in addition to the carbonic acid.
Special Considerations:

  • If you have a high risk for cavities, you should stay away from all acidic drinks.  If you don’t know, ask your dentist!
  • If you have a dry mouth, you do not have the proper amount of saliva to counteract the acid in these drinks, so you should also stay away from all acidic drinks.
  • Enamel erosion makes it easier for the bacteria in our mouths to cause cavities and can cause major breakdown of your teeth, which will then require more dental work in your future.

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