Sparkling water, particularly flavoured sparkling water, has become very popular in the last few years.
The drink has become a popular choice for at least two groups of people – those looking to increase their hydration levels and those who want the tingly carbonation of soda without the sugar and calories.
As carbonation consumption has increased, the question has arisen as to its safety.
Some scientists have even argued that sparkling water can weaken your teeth because of its acidity level.
Acidity can attack the outer layer of your teeth, known as enamel. The critical question to ask: does sparkling water have enough acidity, or is it okay for your teeth?
Do you have questions about sparkling water? Your Preston Supreme Dental team has answers!
There haven’t been that many studies on the subject, but in one of the studies on carbonated water’s impact on enamel health, enamel hardness was affected by carbonation in water.
Highly carbonated water stripped minerals from the enamel surface.
Why? Because sparkling water contains carbonation, the same tingly fizz that we find in soft drinks.
According to Dr Edmond Hewlett, a professor in the University of California–Los Angeles School of Dentistry and dentist for more than 35 years, when you drink sparkling water, carbon dioxide breaks down in your mouth and becomes carbonic acid.
Because acid can attack enamel, the question then becomes whether the acid harms teeth.
Let’s look at pH:
- Pure water has a pH level of 7, which is quite close to the healthy pH of the mouth
- Bottled water has a pH level of 5-7
- The pH level of sparkling flavoured water is generally between 3 and 4
- Sodas can be as low as 2
A study in the International Journal of Paediatric Dentistry, from the University of Birmingham, suggested that sparkling flavoured waters could have the same erosive effect on teeth as or fruit juices.
However, most of this corrosion is due to the use of citric acid as flavouring.
The American Dental Association says that sparkling water is generally not harmful to teeth because its acidity is not high enough to demineralise and weaken teeth.
Erosion of enamel takes time, and saliva fights against it. Saliva contains buffers and enzymes that neutralise the acidity of carbonated water.
According to Dr Peter Alldritt of the Australian Dental Association, this returns the PH level of your mouth to normal,
Safety and Sparkling Water
Sparkling water is safe to drink regularly as long as you follow a few basic rules:
- Read all labels and avoid sparkling water with added sugar or artificial sweeteners.
- Avoid sparkling water with high amounts of citric acid added for flavouring.
- Save your more acidic sparkling water for mealtimes and drink regular water in between.
- Use a straw when drinking any liquid that might harm teeth – this reduces the amount of time that harmful elements have contact with your teeth.
- Rinse or brush your teeth after drinking. If you brush, wait 30-40 minutes.
- Remember that adding slices of citrus fruit to your sparkling water can raise acid levels and erode tooth enamel.
- Decrease the time carbonated water stays in your mouth. Don’t hold it in your mouth or swish it around your teeth before swallowing it.
- Consider chewing Xylitol gum after drinking any acidic drink as Xylitol reduces acid levels.
If you’ve been sipping on carbonated water every day, you may want to schedule an appointment with your Preston dentist to check that no damage has been done to your teeth.
Check the label for added flavourings or sugar
If your sparkling water contains sugar, consider it as a soda or cola. Added sugar can fuel attacks on your teeth.
It should also be noted that sparkling water that is citrus-flavoured, even without added sugar, would have a higher level of acid.
Citrus flavours include orange, lemon, lime, grapefruit, and tangerine, and more citrus or any combination of those listed.
As with any potentially harmful beverage, it is best to drink during a meal rather than sipped on throughout the day – increased saliva levels, mixing with food, and increased swallowing all decrease the potential harm that any beverage can cause.
When drinking sparkling water, coffee, sweet tea, soda, etc., remember to drink it with a meal and rinse afterwards with plain water.
If you have already weakened teeth, you might be concerned, but for people with healthy teeth, the risk is small, and it can be reduced by following these steps.
If you have any questions about your consumption of sparkling water or any other dental questions, feel free to give us a call at Preston Supreme Dental. We are here to help!
The Preston Supreme Dental Team
At Preston Supreme Dental, we are passionate about patient-centred care and our entire team believes that patients should be able to enjoy a relaxing dental experience in comfortable surroundings.
We are conveniently located on Murray Road, between St Georges Rd and High St, with public transportation nearby!
We are conveniently situated on Murray Road, between St Georges Rd and High St, with public transportation nearby!