Is Sparkling Water Healthy for my Teeth?
Written by: Dr. Carly Peterschmidt
Flavored sparkling water has become a popular substitute for soda and fruit juice, as it is a healthier option and offers similar refreshment quality. Because of this, many of our dental patients have asked about the effect of drinking these types of beverages on their oral health.
In general, the acidity level and sugar content of substances we consume are what dental professionals are most concerned about.
- It is recommended to be aware of the pH value of the beverages you consume. When a beverage has a pH lower than 7.0, this means the beverage is acidic. When an acidic substance is ingested, the oral environment then becomes more acidic as well. If our oral environment stays at an acidic level over an extended period of time, the mineral content of our teeth can demineralize, weaken, and lead to cavities.According to a study titled “The pH of Beverages in the United States,” published in the Journal of the American Dental Association, teeth erode in the pH range of 2.0-4.0 [refer to Figure 1 from the study to visualize the level of erosion within each pH level]. Our dental saliva is responsible for diluting and buffering acids, however, when acidic beverage consumption is excessive, saliva is not as effective at protecting the teeth from erosion.
- Sugar Content
- The sugar content within the substances we consume is also unhealthy for our teeth. If your sparkling water is flavored, check the nutritional facts to determine whether the beverage contains sugar. The bacterial plaque that is present in our mouths in between brushings feeds on sugar. When metabolized, acid is formed and cavities can result if the acids are not properly buffered, as mentioned in the previous paragraph.
The takeaway message is to be aware of the acidity and sugar levels of the beverages you consume, as well as the frequency in which you consume them. Although fluoridated water and milk are
still considered the healthiest beverages for your teeth, the American Dental Association does recommend unsweetened sparkling water over other beverages. For optimal oral health, consider rinsing with fluoridated water after drinking any other beverage to help rinse away acidic and sugary substances.
The Journal of the American Dental Association 2016 147, 255-263DOI: (10.1016/j.adaj.2015.10.019)