Your teeth are directly impacted by the beverage choices you make every day. Some drinks, like soda, are well-known tooth destroyers. Unfortunately, it is not always obvious which drinks will damage your teeth. One such seemingly benign refreshment is flavored sparkling water.
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.
How to Minimize Damage to Your Teeth from Sparkling Water
Sip Throughout the Day
To protect your teeth, you don’t have to give up your flavored sparkling water altogether. Instead, change how you consume it. Many people sip on their drinks throughout the day for optimum enjoyment. This habit means that your teeth are exposed to the acid all day in bursts without giving the enamel time to be refreshed. Instead, drink your beverage in one sitting so that your enamel is only exposed for a short period. Make sure that you drink plenty of regular water as well. Staying hydrated is necessary for saliva production, which is essential for the health of your enamel. Your teeth are essential for your health and will last a long time if you take good care of them.
Establish a Good Oral Care Routine at Home
Preventative dentistry is one of the most critical elements in keeping your teeth and mouth healthy. This means having a consistent and healthy oral care routine at home. Our Spokane general dentists suggest brushing your teeth twice daily and flossing.
Many people consider brushing their teeth after eating or drinking something acidic and sugary. This sounds like a great idea in theory, but the acid and sugar soften your enamel, and brushing too soon afterward can contribute to your enamel erosion. After drinking or eating something acidic or sugary, drink plenty of unflavored regular water. This will help to wash any remaining acid and sugar from your teeth. After 30 minutes, you can feel free to brush your teeth.
Visit Your Dentist Twice Yearly
Your Spokane general dentists help keep your teeth and mouth healthy when you visit twice a year for cleanings and oral exams. First, we’ll examine your mouth and teeth to look for any signs of gum disease, tooth decay, and oral cancer. We’ll recommend the next steps if you have tooth decay or gum disease. We often notice gum disease in its early stage of gingivitis and recommend changing your oral care routine. If we find signs of oral cancer, we recommend you to a specialist.
The second part of your twice-yearly dental visit is a cleaning. We remove all the debris, plaque, and tartar from your teeth. The more plaque and tartar buildup you have, the more severely sugar and acidity affect your teeth. So cleaning off the bad stuff will mean less damage to your teeth when you drink your occasional sugary, acidic drink.
Do You Already Have Damage? We Can Repair Your Sensitive Teeth
Are you already experiencing sensitivity when you drink or eat something cold, hot, sugary, or acidic? Fear not! We can help you lessen your tooth sensitivity so you can enjoy that ice-cold glad of water without fear that your teeth will hurt.
Porcelain Veneers: If your teeth are badly damaged, we may recommend covering the surface with porcelain veneers. These veneers bond right to the front of your teeth and will protect them from more damage and repair the aesthetic.
Dental Crown: If you need more protection than what porcelain veneers can offer, we offer dental crowns. These bond to your teeth but cover the entire surface of your tooth and extend a little below your gum line. Dental crowns will eliminate tooth sensitivity and protect and whiten your smile.
Dental Bonding: If you only have slight damage, dental bonding may be your ticket to teeth that aren’t sensitive. We use a tooth-colored material that bonds to your natural tooth and covers any spots that have weakened enamel. You’ll enjoy reduced sensitivity and an enhanced appearance of those teeth.
Protect and Repair Your Teeth in Spokane, WA
Schedule an appointment with our Spokane general dentists to keep up with your preventative care. And if you need a little more help to repair previous damage, our general dentists are also cosmetic dentists, so you know you’ll get the most attractive smile every time. Call (509) 532-1111 or make an appointment online.