Sparkling Water Acidity
A popular alternative to soda is flavored sparkling water. This drink is seen by many as being a healthy choice for people who want a carbonated beverage to replace soda. Although some brands may contain less sugar than leading soda brands, flavored sparkling water is not much better for your teeth than soda. A group of researchers at the University of Birmingham tested flavored sparkling water to determine whether or not it could cause tooth erosion. They tested the acidity by finding the pH, which was right around 3. On the pH scale, lower numbers indicate higher acidity. Enamel is known to start eroding at a pH of 5.5, meaning that anything with a lower pH will damage enamel.
The sugar in flavored sparkling water contributes to its acidity. When you drink sugar, the sugar reacts with the bacteria on your teeth and turns into acid. The acid eats away at your enamel until your teeth become sensitive, and you may even need to have them replaced in severe situations. This isn’t just true for flavored sparkling water; it’s true for soda, sugary coffee drinks, lemonade, fruit juice, and alcoholic drinks.
Flavored Sparkling Water is Only Slightly Better For Your Teeth Than Soda
When looking at the pH of other drinks, it is easy to see that flavored sparkling water is not much better for your teeth than the drinks we know to cause tooth damage. Coke and Pepsi have a pH of 2.5, only slightly lower than the sparkling water people drink as an alternative. Orange juice, another known acidic drink, has a pH of 3.5, making it slightly less acidic than sparkling water. If you’re thinking of switching from flavored sparkling water to regular flavored water, you should consider that flavored water has a pH of 3.4, putting it in the tooth-damaging range as well.
Of course, the safest drink for your teeth is regular unflavored water. Still, the ADA (American Dental Association) has discovered that unflavored sparkling water is also okay. Researchers put teeth in ordinary water and sparkling water to determine the differences in tooth damage. They found that there was very little difference in the enamel erosion.
But be aware: many unflavored sparkling waters have sneaky sugar additives which will erode your tooth enamel. If you’re truly drinking sparkling water with no additives, you should be okay, but many companies sneak sugar into their product when you least expect it.