Sparkling Water and Your Smile
It is common knowledge that drinking water is good for your health. But staying hydrated can be difficult and even tedious.
You are told to drink at least two litres of water daily, but after the first few glasses, you may discover that the taste is bland.
After the entire two litres, you may never want to touch water again!
To add some pizazz to their water consumption, some health-conscious Australians have switched to sparkling water as their drink of choice.
This seems like a safe choice – unflavoured sparkling water is just healthy, natural water with a bit of tingly carbonation added to liven things up.
Recently, however, there have been newspaper and magazine articles suggesting that sparkling water may be a threat to your teeth – that it may attack enamel.
At Ria Family Dental our job is to help you take care of your teeth and oral health, so we’d like to share our latest understanding of sparkling water and how safe it is for your teeth.
So, how could sparkling water possibly damage teeth?
The argument against sparkling water comes down to this – in theory; sparkling water can erode tooth enamel. This is due to a chemical reaction resulting from the carbonation process itself.
To make ordinary water into fizzy drinks, low temperatures and high-pressure a force carbon dioxide gas to dissolve into water. The result of this is carbonic acid.
Carbonic acid gives sparkling water an acidity level lower on the pH scale than ordinary tap water. And if beverages get too low (acidic) on the pH scale, they can harm your teeth.
With respect to pH, sparkling water is not the worst drink available, but it is certainly below that of the natural pH of the mouth (about 7.4):
- Natural water has a pH of 7
- Bottled water — even some of the non-fizzy variety — has a pH level of 5-7
- The pH level of flavoured sparkling water ranges from 3-5
- Sodas can be as low as 2 – 2.5
What do studies say?
A study in the International Journal of Paediatric Dentistry from the University of Birmingham suggested that flavoured sparkling waters could have erosive effects on teeth similar to those caused by orange juice, which has already been proven to erode enamel.
But the critical thing drawn from this study was that it is the added flavours that seem to cause the erosion, not the sparkling water itself.
And another study, this time in the Journal of Oral Rehabilitation, however, showed that plain mineral water and most flavourless sparkling water do very little to damage teeth.
So what science seems to say is that there is a minor chance that sparkling water can have an effect on your teeth, but even in the worst case, this damage is likely to only be equivalent to that of fruit juice without added sugar. And in most of the studies, teeth were submerged in sparkling water for periods of time much longer than drinks remain in the mouth.
So, sparkling water does present a theoretical risk of tooth erosion, but the water would have to be consumed repeatedly over time and stay in the mouth for an unrealistically long time to have a substantial effect.
But, on the small chance it might do some damage, Ria Family Dental has some suggestions to protect your teeth.
How to stay safe
The answer, like many answers about your health, starts with moderation. Don’t drink too much carbonated water, particularly flavoured or sweetened varieties. However, if you do, there are also some strategies you can use to be sure that, even if carbonated water does pose a very slight threat, your teeth are unharmed.
- Sparkling water can be another healthy way to meet your daily hydration needs, and the best options of sparkling water are mineral-rich and free of sugar, artificial sweeteners, artificial colours, and artificial flavours.
- Sparkling waters flavoured with citrus usually have higher acid levels that increase the risk of enamel erosion. Enjoy these beverages in one sitting or with meals. The worst erosion results from sipping all day long.
- Don’t use sparkling water with added sugar. Just remember—sparkling drink or otherwise—plain water is almost always the best dental choice.
- Use a straw when drinking any liquid that might affect teeth.
- Rinse with water after drinking carbonated or sugary beverages.
- Brush your teeth 30-40 minutes after drinking carbonated or sugary beverages.
The Ria Family Dental Advantage
When it comes to providing you and your family with quality dental care in a friendly and warm environment, Ria Family Dental can’t be beaten.
#1. Book online now
#2. Call 0451 359 356
#3. Visit us at 451 Fairfield Rd in Yeronga