Gosnells Dentist Tips: Is Your Sparkling Water Attacking Your Teeth?
And you probably also know that water is the healthiest drink choice to keep your mind and body healthy.
But did you know it is also great for your teeth? Water helps clean teeth and often contains fluoride – which can remineralise teeth and protect against decay.
But if you’ve tried drinking more water, you may have come across one problem – there isn’t that much taste to it. Drinking too much water can be a bit bland.
As a bit of a compromise, many of us have tried to spruce up our water drinking by moving to sparkling water – normal water with the bubbles and zest of carbonation added.
Sparkling water can provide the satisfying feel of soda while avoiding the sugar, additives, and calories that come with sodas.
But, recently, scientists have been asking a question about sparkling water, “Does that added carbonation, and its associated acidity, affect your dental health?” There has been a particular focus on its effect on enamel, the hard, protective, outer covering of the teeth.
At Smile Dental Studios Gosnells, we know that that sparkling water is a bit more acidic than ‘regular’ water, but we also think it is generally safe to drink, and if you’re worried about its effects we offer a few steps that you can take to protect your teeth.
Does sparkling water affect your teeth?
Scientists and dentists have been hard at work, answering this question. The underlying concern is that sparkling water contains carbonic acid, which is what gives sparkling water its tangy taste.
The carbonic acid is formed as water and carbon dioxide are put under pressure and combined. This is what imparts that ‘fizz’ to sparkling water.
But after sparkling water is opened, the drink begins to ‘separate’, and this leads to an acid level that could, theoretically, attack tooth enamel.
In real life, it seems that fans of sparkling water don’t have to worry about this, too much. Let’s look at some science!
To begin, the carbonic acid found in sparkling water is a relatively weak acid. Its pH (the way we measure base vs acidity in liquids) is far healthier than that found in a soft drink, like Sprite or Coke.
In comparison, a cola can have a pH as low as 2.5, bottled water has a pH of about 7, and most sparkling waters come in at between 5-7. These are reasonably good numbers when you consider that a healthy mouth has a pH of about 7.4.
There have been studies indicating that sparkling water might harm enamel, but these lab tests have shown a small impact and have been set in relatively unrealistic settings.
They also find that most’ sparkling water does its damage due to additives, usually citric acid and/or sugar.
One study in 2007 exposed teeth to sparkling flavoured water for half an hour.
It discovered that the effect of sparkling water was similar to that of orange juice (known to erode tooth enamel), but that most of this was related to the flavouring in the drinks.
Further, the 30-minute exposure was well beyond what most teeth would be exposed to.
And, luckily, the mouth is pretty good at maintaining a safe pH – saliva functions as a buffer against and counteragent to acids in the mouth.
So the threat to your enamel and teeth seems minor, and a few precautions can protect you against damage.
Smile Dental Studios Gosnells has some suggestions to protect your teeth while drinking sparkling water:
- Read all product labels and avoid sparkling water with added artificial sweeteners or sugar.
- Don’t drink sparkling water with high amounts of citric acid added for fruit flavouring.
- Save your more acidic drinks for mealtimes and drink regular water in between meals.
- Use a straw when drinking anything acidic or sugary – this keeps potentially dangerous substances away from the teeth.
- Rinse or brush your teeth after drinking anything with sugar or flavouring. Be sure to wait 30-40 minutes after drinking or eating before you brush.
- Be careful of adding citrus fruit (e.g. slices of lime, lemon, or orange) to your sparkling water. These innocent bits of fruit can raise acid levelsand erode tooth enamel.
- Limit the amount of time any acidic or sugary drink stays in your mouth.Don’t hold these drinks in your mouth or swish them around before swallowing.
- Chew Xylitol gum after drinking any acidic drink. Xylitol reduces acid levels, and gum stimulates the production of saliva, which protects against high acid levels in the mouth.
If you’ve been drinking carbonated water every day, you may want to be sure that it did not affect your teeth. Schedule an appointment with your Smile Dental Studios Gosnells to make sure that your oral health at its peak level!
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