We have been asked this question a lot lately, maybe because it is summer and people are looking for a cold refreshing alternative to water that is not soda or juice. I mean, who doesn’t love a Coconut La Croix every now and then!?!
Unfortunately the answer is: True.
The problem is that the CO2 that gives sparking water its fizziness is converted to carbonic acid in your mouth. This acid lowers the pH level and while buffers in our saliva work to neutralize pH levels, the process is slow.
What happens in a mouth with a reduced pH level? Teeth are demineralized. In other words, the hard enamel that protects the soft inner part of your teeth (dentin) literally looses some of the minerals that make it hard. When the enamel is soft, dental erosion occurs…even in the absence of sugar. Adding sugar to the equation creates even more of a problem. This is because your teeth are not only at risk for erosion, but decay also. So while sparkling water is worse for your teeth than regular water, it is not as bad as non-diet soda.
One important factor to consider is the length of exposure. If you pop open a can of
La Croix and drink it with a meal over a 15 minute time period, that is not so bad. Swishing with a mouthful of regular water when you are done makes it even better. However, if you sip on that same size can, without food, for over an hour, the exposure time is much higher. Your saliva just can’t keep up and so more erosion will occur.
Bottomline: The best thing you can drink is water.
When you drink other beverages, try to consume over a shorter duration of time, rather than sipping throughout the day. If you drink something acidic, don’t brush right away, as the enamel is soft and you will be literally brushing away your teeth! Instead, rinse with water and brush with fluoride toothpaste an hour later.
The goal of this post is not to say that sparkling water is horrible and you should never drink it. After all it is a more “natural” alternative to soda and does not have any sugar. However, when a bottle of sparkling water looks almost identical to a regular bottle of water it can be hard to tell if there is any difference. And it is important to understand the difference so that we can enjoy these beverages and then take the necessary steps to keep our teeth healthy and strong!