You should be drinking at least a half-gallon of water a day, but most people get bored with water and tend to look for other alternatives. The most popular option is sparkling waters such a La Croix and Pellegrino. Any drink with carbonation—including sparkling water—has a higher acid level, and 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 Hurting Your Teeth?
According to available research, sparkling water is generally safe for your teeth. 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 tap water. The result showed 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.
How Can You Protect Your Teeth and Drink Sparkling Water?
- Sparkling water is far better for your teeth than sugary drinks. In addition, be sure to drink plenty of regular, fluoridated water, since it is still the best water 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. Also it helps to use a straw and keep it from directly hitting your teeth.
- 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.