Sparkling or seltzer water is arguably more popular than ever before. From the La Croix craze to every single grocery store making their own version, the beverage is everywhere today. It is advertised as a zero calorie, guiltless beverage, which makes it a bit of a health craze for some people as well. However, you may wonder what regular consumption of sparkling water does to your teeth. Is sparkling water bad for your teeth, or is it harmless just like water? Let’s dig a little deeper into sparkling water and its effect on your teeth.
Sparkling water is made by injecting carbon dioxide gas in water and then keeping it under pressure. It is the carbon dioxide, or technically carbonic acid, that gives sparking water the bubbly, effervescent taste that people crave. However, the process of creating sparking water also creates a mild acid. It is very weak compared to other acids, but it is still acidic nonetheless. Any acid when ingested can impact the health of your tooth enamel. So even though it is weak, yes sparking water can contribute to tooth decay. But its not nearly as bad as sugary drinks, which we’ll examine next.
As we just learned sparkling water is acidic, but it’s not nearly as bad for your teeth as sugary drinks like soda. This is because sugary drinks have both carbonic acid and sugar. In addition to acid, sugar breeds harmful bacteria that can damage your enamel and cause cavities. (For more on the harmful effects of soda, read Healthier Teeth In 2020? Cut Out Soda). So while sparkling water alone isn't great for your teeth, sugary beverages are definitely worse. If you have a soda addiction, switching to sparkling water could be a way to lessen enamel damage. Just remember, moderation is always key.
In addition to a mild acidic impact on your teeth, sparkling water can effect your stomach as well. Those with a multiple can habit per day may find themselves with stomach pains and bloating. Since water seems harmless to us, this effect can make people feel like something more serious is going on. So beware, if you have a sparkling water habit, it could be impacting your digestion as well.
Now that we've established that sparkling water isn't good for your teeth, let's talk about just how bad it is. As with any acidic exposure to your teeth, the longer the acid stays on your teeth, the worse the decay can be. For example if you drink soda periodically all day, you're constantly exposing your teeth to both carbonic acid and sugar. Without a break for your teeth, this behavior can be very harmful. You might just have a new cavity show up at you're next dental checkup. Even without the sugar, constant sparkling water exposure is bad for your enamel. Anyone who consumes a lot of sparkling water needs to be thoughtful about their consumption.
If you're reading this article and think you'll never be able to drink sparkling water again, it is not nearly that bad. However, drinking it freely like there are no consequences is not the answer either. The reasonable answer is you need to consume sparkling water at a reasonable pace, and rinsing with fluoridated water afterward will help wash the carbonic acid away. Drinking with a straw will also help keep the sparking water off your teeth, thereby reducing acidic exposure. Sipping sparkling water throughout the day like it is a substitute for normal water is not prudent.
So keep your sparkling water consumption moderated, and keep drinking fluoridated water every day as well. Be sure to keep up with your bi-yearly checkups so if you do develop any cavities, we can take care of them quickly. Contact Grace & Leedy Family Dentistry to schedule your next appointment.