Drinking water is good for your health in virtually every way – it keeps the proper fluid balance in your body, helps the digestive system to operate smoothly and rejuvenates and moisturizes skin. That’s just to name a few. But drinking plain water can be boring, so many people turn to sparkling water to stay hydrated.

Sparkling water will keep you hydrated the same as regular water as it’s just adding carbonation to plain water. But there is one hidden bad side effect of drinking sparkling water: it can potentially damage your teeth. Most of us wouldn’t think this is the case, but it is!

The outermost layer of your teeth, the enamel, protects the teeth during daily use, particularly when chewing, biting and grinding. Enamel can still chip and crack despite its mineral makeup. It is also prone to erosion when exposed to acidic foods and beverages frequently. Drinks with carbonation, like soda and sparkling water, can be damaging to teeth enamel.

Quantity Matters

As with any acidic food or drink, it’s the number of times you’re eating or drinking the substance that matters. Too much sparkling water upends the pH balance in your mouth and tilts it more towards acidic. An acidic mouth environment is more prone to enamel erosion, which can then cause tooth decay and cavities.

A study in the Journal of the American Dental Association, measured the pH levels of 379 beverages, including a mix of sweetened sodas, sports drinks, juices, teas and sparkling waters. The study ranked how much the drinks eroded teeth based on their pH level. Drinks with a pH under 3.0 were labeled as “extremely erosive,” drinks with a pH between 3.0 and 3.99 were “erosive” and drinks with a pH above 4.0 were “minimally erosive.”

Sports drinks were the most erosive and sparkling waters were the least. So while there are worse options than sparkling water, they can still cause tooth erosion.

Another study by researchers at the Southern Illinois University School of Dental Medicine took slices of enamel and immersing them in different soft drinks for six, 24 and 48 hours. The enamel did begin to erode. While we’re not drinking these beverages for that long of a time period, it does show that drinking these acidic beverages for a long time does impact the teeth.

Steer Clear of Citrus…Drinks

Citrus fruits, like oranges, grapefruit, lemons and limes, also contain a lot of acid. They’re incredibly healthy for you, but citrus-flavored sparkling water can cause damage. The American Dental Association recommends having citrus-flavored sparkling water with meals, so you’re just having it one sitting and it is a little diluted by the other foods you’re eating.

Be mindful of sparkling water that contain added sugar– then they’re not comparable to regular water anymore. Sugary drinks can not only cause things like diabetes, but sugars also latch onto teeth, form plaque, and eventually decay.

Don’t Rub it in

When you do drink sparkling water, give yourself a buffer before brushing your teeth. The acid in sparkling water softens the surface of the tooth, making the enamel more sensitive to abrasions. Brushing your teeth right away will just increase the likelihood for abrasions and damage. Wait at least 30 minutes until brushing.

If you’re dealing with light or severe tooth pain due to worn or damaged enamel, reach out to us at (850) 542-4428. Our dentist, Dr. Djuric is one of the leading cosmetic and implant dentists in the Gulf Coast. But don’t just take our word for it – read what hundreds of thrilled patients have to say.