We all know that sugary carbonated drinks do more harm than good to the teeth, but what about sparkling water? In most carbonated beverages, the acidity levels are very high – which can weaken tooth enamel.
If you’re not familiar with tooth enamel, it is the hard outer shell of your teeth where cavities first form. When left on the teeth for too long, the acid and sugar from carbonated beverages can cause significant tooth decay, stained teeth or, in some cases, gum disease. This is often discussed in association with sodas, but what about sparkling water?
Because there is no added sugar, only carbonation, studies have shown that sparkling water is fine on the teeth. In fact, one study tested whether or not sparkling water had any effect on tooth enamel compared to water. Although it has more acid than regular water, results showed that sparkling water had about the same effects on the tooth enamel.
Now that you know the truth about sparkling water’s effects on the teeth, it is important to remember that it still contains acid and should be consumed with caution. To help you enjoy your favorite drink, Dr. Eric Wu at Redwood Shores Orthodontics will list a few tips for protecting your teeth:
- Just because sparkling water is better than sugary drinks, be sure to drink plenty of regular, fluoridated water, too. Water containing fluoride is the best beverage for your teeth. Water with fluoride naturally helps fight cavities and washes away the leftover food cavity-causing bacteria feast on. Furthermore, it keeps your mouth from becoming too dry – which is how cavities begin to form.
- Sparkling water comes in many different flavors. Be mindful of this. Citrus-flavored sparkling water have higher acidity levels than plain sparkling water – meaning they increase the risk of damaging your enamel. When drinking these kinds of beverages, Dr. Eric Wu recommends doing so with a meal or in one sitting.
- Check the labels! Not all sparkling waters are made alike. Some contain sugar and are considered to be more of a sugar-sweetened beverage rather than sparkling water. These drinks can increase your risk of developing cavities.
When in doubt, plain water is always best. While plain sparkling water is less harmful than those with citrus or sugar, it still contains ingredients that could be harmful to enamel. For questions about which beverages are safe for your teeth, contact our office. Your smile is our priority.