It’s no secret that families consume too much sugar, nearly 3lbs of added sugar for each American every week. And it makes sense that nearly of quarter of that sugar comes from sugary beverages like soda. That’s why the recent popularity of fizzy, zero-calorie beverages is encouraging…especially to pediatric dentists. Brands like La Croix, Spindrift and Bubly have started to replace popular sodas as the drinks of choice for adults, teens and even children. But is carbonated water good for your teeth?
Enamel: Your first line of defense.
Your tooth’s enamel is the hardest substance in your body. However, it’s not impenetrable and needs to be protected, which is one of the primary duties of saliva. Your saliva contains a tooth-healthy mix of calcium and phosphate and is normally at a pH of around 7 This provides just the right balance to keep enamel strong.
Introducing sparkling water.
Sparkling water is made by adding carbon dioxide. This creates carbonic acid with a pH that typically ranges from 3-4. Carbonic acid is what gives these drinks their “bite” and creates a pleasant taste on the tongue. Unfortunately, when your mouth pH drops below 5.5, calcium and phosphate begin to go the opposite direction to regain balance – out of tooth enamel and back into saliva. This is demineralization.
How demineralization harms enamel.
When tooth strengthening minerals begin to exit your enamel, small pores are created and enamel begins to dissolve. While these pores can still be “plugged” with more calcium or even fluoride (that’s how toothpaste protects your teeth), a constant bathing of carbonic acid means that your mouth can’t keep up. Simply put, too many fizzy drinks weaken your teeth.
Bad for teeth?
While replacing sweetened beverages with plain sparkling water is certainly better for your teeth and overall health, it’s not without its drawbacks. It’s best to stick with still water whenever possible and save the fizz for a special treat.