It doesn’t matter if you are one of those people who see the glass as half-empty or half-full: if the glass has water in it, it’s good for your health.
Our bodies are made of 60% water (our brains and hearts over 70%), and staying hydrated helps your system distribute nutrients, eliminate waste, makes your skin glow, and helps keep your muscles healthy. Sipping water is also one of the best things you can do for your teeth.
Some doctors even recommend you drink eight glasses of water a day. But eight glasses of water a day can become tiresome, and that’s why some people turn to sparkling water to add a little variety to their water consumption. In fact, carbonated water sales have jumped dramatically recently, leading some of our patients to ask if these drinks are a safe alternative to sugary drinks?
At Your Gold Coast Dental, we counsel our patients that this question comes down to three things; the pH of what you’re drinking, how often you are drinking it, and your general dental hygiene practices. Let’s take a look at these three things!
Sparkling Water and Your Teeth
Most fizzy and carbonated drinks (including sodas and flavoured drinks) can damage your teeth by decreasing the pH of your mouth. This reduced pH results in an accelerated removal of minerals from your teeth, causing cavities and other dental problems. However, sparkling water is less harmful to your teeth due to its lower acidity.
Let’s look at the pH numbers:
- Pure water has a pH level of 7
- Bottled water — even some of the non-fizzy variety — has a pH level of 5-7
- The pH level of flavoured sparkling water is generally between 3 and 4
- Sodas can be as low as 2
A study published in the International Journal of Paediatric Dentistry, by researchers from the University of Birmingham, suggests that many flavoured sparkling waters have the same erosive effect on teeth as orange juice, which has been demonstrated to soften tooth enamel.
In their tests, lemon, lime, and grapefruit were the most corrosive flavours due to their use of citric acid in addition to the carbonic acid that is already present.
However, and it is a BIG ‘however’, most of the damage is done by the flavouring, not the ‘sparkle’.
According to the American Dental Association, sparkling water is not harmful to teeth because the acidity of sparkling water is not high enough to demineralise and weaken your teeth. Enamel erosion is a slow process and our saliva fights against it.
Saliva contains enzymes and buffers that neutralise the acidity of carbonated water, which returns the PH level of your mouth to normal, according to Dr Peter Alldritt of the Australian Dental Association.
Natural Vs. Artificial Sparkling Water
- Natural Sparkling Water – Natural sparkling mineral water from naturally occurring mineral springs, is generally the least acidic form of sparkling water. It also rich in nutrients that can help your overall dental and physical health.
- Artificial Sparkling Water – Artificial water is created by infusing carbon dioxide into water under pressure. This is the kind of sparkling water you will get at most restaurants or purchase over-the-counter.
Sparkling water is safe to drink on a regular basis as long as you stick to a few basic rules:
- Read nutrition labels and stay away from sparkling water with added sugar or artificial sweeteners.
- Sparkling beverages like tonic water and some flavoured sparkling water options will have extra hidden ingredients, so read the ingredients lists carefully.
- Avoid drinking too much sparkling water with high amounts of citric acid added for flavouring.
- Save your more acidic sparkling water for mealtimes and drink regular water in between.
- Use a straw when drinking – it keeps harmful acid from contacting teeth.
- Rinse or brush your teeth after drinking. If you brush, wait 30-40 minutes.
- Remember that adding a slice of citrus fruit to your sparkling water can raise acid levels and erode away tooth enamel.
- Minimize the time carbonated water is in your mouth. Avoid holding it in your mouth or swishing it around before swallowing.
- Consider chewing Xylitol gum after drinking any acidic drink as Xylitol reduces acid levels.
If you’ve been sipping on carbonated water every day, you may want to schedule an appointment with Your Gold Coast Dentist to make sure that no damage has been done to your teeth.
Getting The Most At Your Gold Coast Dentist!
Your Gold Coast Dentist is your perfect dentist in the Parkwood area. Our practice combines the most advanced dental techniques available with high levels of skill and experience. We provide the highest level of quality and comfort for patients of all kinds.
From routine checkups to the most complicated procedures, Your Gold Coast Dentist can treat you and your family with the care and respect you deserve!
- Pay No Gap – NO GAP for comprehensive dental check up and clean (every 6 months and with any health insurance)
- No Health Insurance? Pay only $146 for check up and clean
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