Is Sparkling Water Bad for Your Teeth?
Sparkling water sales have skyrocketed in recent years with an increase in public education about nutrition. It is now universally accepted that soda is bad for you in every way: it degrades the enamel of your teeth, stains your teeth, raises your blood sugar, and contributes to obesity. As a result, people are finding soda water, seltzer, and carbonated spring water to be healthy alternatives that fulfill the desire for a refreshing, bubbly drink without the sugar and calories that accompany regular soda.
Recent headlines, however, claim that sparkling water is not as good for your mouth as it’s cracked up to be. That’s because the acidity or ‘pH’ of a drink can change the acidity of your mouth and subsequently, erode your teeth.
The pH of your mouth is 6, which is around the pH of dairy milk. Rainwater is more acidic, with a pH of 5.5. Tap water has a pH of 7. So, what about sparkling water? Is it so acidic that it will wash away the top coating of your teeth, or is it relatively safe compared to other beverages?
Sparkling water is more acidic than regular water, especially when it is served cold and bubbly (as it’s most often served). You might be surprised to find out, however, that sparkling water isn’t all that bad, and certainly not as bad as sensational articles have made it out to be.
Soda water is the most acidic of all the tested varieties with a pH of 3.69. Gerolsteiner has the highest pH at 5.2, which is nearly the pH of rainwater.
If you go for warm sparkling water then it’s even better for your teeth – nearly a full pH point more basic – making it nearly the same as the neutral pH of your mouth and unlikely to harm your teeth. If you allow your sparkling water to go warm and flat then there is barely any difference between it and regular tap water.
Of course, drinking warm flat sparkling water is a bit of a downer for most people, defeating the very purpose of seeking out bubbly in the first place. The good news is there’s little to worry about when drinking sparkling water in any of its forms. The difference in pH between sparkling and regular water is marginal, and sparkling water is still worlds better than regular coca-cola, which has a pH of 2.5. If you’re still worried about the pH of soda water affecting your teeth, wash your mouth with a bit of plain water after your meal and brush with toothpaste.
Coca-cola is about 10,000 times more acidic than water, making it extremely bad for your teeth. Highly acidic food and drinks leach minerals from your diet and your body, putting you at a much higher risk for osteoporosis.
Acidic sodas also promote increased gastric acid production in your stomach, which can, in turn, lead to dental problems from acid reflux. Too much gastric acid also negatively affects digestion, especially protein absorption.
Sparkling water is much better than soda for all of these reasons. Its higher pH and lack of sugar make it far easier for your body to handle, and your teeth won’t be much affected if you consume it regularly.
It’s a good idea to seek out alternatives to sugary sodas. Even diet soda is highly caustic to your teeth and contains sweeteners that may increase your drive to seek out other sweet things. Sparkling water is around the same pH as regular water, especially if you serve it warm and flat. Whichever way you like it, you can be happy that you’re replacing a poor dietary habit with a much better one, and that you don’t have to miss out on fun fizzy drinks while supporting your dental health.