The Truth About Sparkling Water and Your Tooth Enamel

When you search for the impacts of popular sparkling water brands and your teeth, you will very likely find an abundance of articles claiming it’s the worst thing ever for your teeth, or that it has no real effect on your teeth, or that it might be bad or might not be. So how are we to know what is the truth?

The answer lies in what we know about how carbonated (flavoured or unflavoured) water interacts with tooth enamel. Here’s a quick rundown of the good, the bad, and the ugly (in reverse order):

First, The Ugly

In one of the few studies on carbonated water’s impact on enamel health, enamel hardness was effected by low or high levels of carbonation in water. Highly carbonated water, regardless of the presence of calcium, stripped a considerable amount of minerals from the enamel surface.

Etched enamel surfaces were even more vulnerable to damage from carbonated water. The study shows enough evidence to suggest that teeth that are already weakened are far more susceptible to damage from drinking carbonated water than healthy teeth.

Onto the Bad

Carbonated water has a lower pH than plain water, and low pH can cause mineral loss from tooth enamel. Some experiments looking at pH levels of carbonated waters found that mineral levels in the mouth and starting pH are important factors in how much tooth surfaces are effected by consuming sparkling water. If you have a relative calcium deficiency, carbonated drinks will be more dangerous to your teeth.

Flavoured sparkling water tends to be harder on the enamel than plain sparkling water, so if you drink fizzy drinks just for the flavour, your teeth may be worse off. Also, people who drink carbonated fizzy drinks tend to hold it in their mouths longer, which is the worst possible choice for long term enamel health.

Finally, The Good

The good news is that, overall, there’s no evidence that drinking a flavoured carbonated water with meals will put too great a pressure on your enamel health, making it a reasonable occasional indulgence. When researchers looked at low carbonated water with calcium added, the impact on the minerals in tooth enamel was mitigated. If you do not have active dental decay, sparkling or soda water is unlikely to cause your teeth undue stress when consumed with meals.

The key idea is moderation. Enjoying the occasional soda or sparkling water is probably fine. Drinking a couple of bottles a day is likely to cause you real tooth pain, especially if you already suffer from dental decay. If you prefer to drink soda or sparkling water, try swishing with water or a pH correcting rinse after indulging, and make sure you book in for regular dental check ups for your dentist to assess the health of your teeth and enamel.

Read here about how losing minerals on the tooth enamel can affect the colour of your teeth