Switching over to sparkling water from sugary sodas may seem like a healthy choice, but is the carbonation used in sparkling water damaging to your teeth?
Growing research suggests that it may not be a risk-free option. As an increasing number of Americans opt for a sugar-free sparkling water drink, USA Today reports that nearly 516 million gallons of sparkling water were sold in the US in 2016 alone.
How Bad is Drinking Soda For My Teeth and Enamel?
Sugar-packed sodas erode your enamel both by high sugar content and carbonation. Both of these factors contribute to tooth decay and can lead to cavities and erosion.
Carbonated beverages are high in acidity, and more quickly erode enamel than non-acidic beverages like water or milk.
The ADA’s current guidelines include unsweetened sparkling water as a recommended beverage over sugary sodas and sports drinks.
Is sparkling water really a safe option for your teeth? The answer may depend on the study methods used to determine the acidity of popular sparkling water drinks.
Is Sparkling Water a Healthier Option?
While reducing sugar intake is an excellent way to lower your risk of cavities and decay, the primary cause for concern surrounding sparkling water lies within the carbonation.
Various studies conducted to determine the effect of sparkling water on the teeth have used differing criteria and have produced different results.
A study conducted by the Journal of the American Dental Association used an assortment of nearly 400 sodas, juices, sports drinks, and teas to determine the PH of our most popular drink choices.
The researchers then ranked the erosiveness of each drink according to PH level. Drinks were determined to be extremely erosive if they carried a PH level under 3.0, ”erosive” if the PH level ranged between 3.0 and 3.99 and ”minimally erosive” if a PH level above 4.0 was present.
Using this ranking system, most sports drinks were determined to be extremely erosive while most sparkling waters were determined to be only minimally erosive.
A separate study, conducted by researchers at McGill University tested the PH of nine popular brands of sparkling water at various temperatures and carbonation levels.
The study concluded that the PH level of sparkling water drinks tended to rise while unrefrigerated and sitting at room temperature, meaning that these drinks were actually more erosive in their cold and carbonated form (when you are more likely to consume them).
Do these results conclude that sparkling water is damaging to your teeth and enamel? The short answer is that it’s much less erosive to your enamel than sugary sodas, but not the least damaging drink you can opt for.
Overall, the ADA recommends trading in your carbonated soda in place of a sparkling water beverage, but not replacing non-carbonated, fluoridated water with sparkling water on a consistent basis.
What Steps Can I Take To Protect My Enamel?
If you’d like to take further steps to protect your teeth from cavities and erosion, try using a fluoridated toothpaste specially formulated for cavity prevention and protection of enamel.
Scheduling regular cleanings and checkups with Soft Touch Dental will help your dentist detect signs of early decay and erosion while there are still many treatment options available.
Giving up sugary sodas in place of unsweetened sparkling water is a great first step in the prevention of erosion and cavities.
Following the suggestions discussed here will reduce your chances of developing cavities and lower your risk of dental decay even further, for the healthiest mouth and smile possible!
Contact us today to schedule your appointment at Soft Touch Dentists.