Is the satisfying fizz of your favorite sparkling water putting you at risk for tooth decay? Because any drink with carbonation—including sparkling water—has a higher acid level, some reports have questioned whether sipping sparkling water will weaken your tooth enamel (the hard outer shell of your teeth where cavities first form).
So, Is Sparkling Water Affecting My Teeth?
According to available research, sparkling water is generally fine for your teeth—and here’s why. In a study using teeth that were removed as a part of treatment and donated for research, researchers tested to see whether sparkling water would attack tooth enamel more aggressively than regular lab water. The result? The two forms of water were about the same in their effects on tooth enamel. This finding suggests that, even though sparkling water is slightly more acidic than ordinary water, it’s all just water to your teeth.
Tips for Enjoying Sparkling Water—and Protecting Your Teeth
- Sparkling water is far better for your teeth than sugary drinks. In addition, be sure to drink plenty of regular, fluoridated water, too-it’s the best beverage for your teeth. Water with fluoride naturally helps fight cavities, washes away the leftover food cavity-causing bacteria feast on, and keeps your mouth from becoming dry (which can put you at a higher risk of cavities).
- Be mindful of what’s in your sparkling water. Citrus-flavored waters often have higher acid levels that do increase the risk of damage to your enamel. Plan to enjoy these in one sitting or with meals. This way, you aren’t sipping it throughout the day and exposing your teeth over and over again to the slightly higher level of acid it contains.
- Sparkling water brands with added sugar can no longer be considered just sparkling water. They are a sugar-sweetened beverage, which can contribute to your risk of developing cavities. So remember—sparkling or not—plain water is always the best choice.
4 Reasons Water Is the Best Beverage for Your Teeth
It doesn’t matter if your glass is half-empty or half-full: Drinking water is always good for your health. Our bodies are made of 60% water, and staying hydrated helps your system distribute healthy nutrients, gets rid of waste, gives your skin a healthy glow, and keeps your muscles moving. Sipping water is also one of the best things you can do for your teeth – especially if it’s fluoridated. Read on to find out why water is always a winner for your dental health.
It Keeps Your Mouth Clean
Drinking juice, soda, or sports drinks may help you wash down your dinner, but they can leave unwanted sugar behind on your teeth. The cavity-causing bacteria in your mouth love to eat sugar and produce acid that wears away enamel, which is the outer shell of your teeth. Many of these drinks also have added acids (phosphoric, citrus, or malic acid) to make them taste less sweet, but those acids also cause trouble by eroding away enamel.
Water, however, cleans your mouth with every sip. It washes away leftover food and residue that cavity-causing bacteria are looking for. It also dilutes the acids produced by the bacteria in your mouth. You’ll still need to brush twice a day for two minutes and clean between your teeth, but drinking water through the day will go a long way toward keeping your smile cavity-free.
It Fights Dry Mouth
Saliva is your mouth’s first defense against tooth decay. It washes away leftover food, helps you swallow with ease, and keeps your teeth strong by washing them with calcium, phosphate, and fluoride.
When your saliva supply runs low, dry mouth may put you at risk for tooth decay. Drinking water can help cut your risk as you and your dentist work to find the best long-term solution for you.
Sweetened drinks that are high in sugar and calories, create a perfect storm that puts you at risk for cavities and other unhealthy consequences like weight gain. In fact, studies have shown that drinking water can actually help you lose weight. So the next time you need a drink, go guilt-free with water to take care of your body and your smile.