Drinking sparkling water seems to be the right thing to do.
After all staying hydrated is essential – doctors say we need to drink up to 2 litres of water a day.
And to the extent that sparkling water avoids sugar and chemicals from sodas and other beverages, it’s an excellent drink.
Better yet the variety of flavours on the market can make otherwise bland water more tasty to drink.
But if sipping flavoured sparkling water keeps you going throughout the day, you may have heard rumours that it could cause dental problems.
There are certainly some things you need to know about sparkling water, particularly flavoured sparkling water, and Caringbah Dental Care is here to clue you in!
One truth about drinking too much flavoured water — sparkling or not — is that it can damage your teeth. The flavours are often citric and other fruit acids that can lead to significant tooth erosion. Sparkling water alone is not that bad, but what is added to it can be!
A beverage’s pH is the primary factor in its ability to erode teeth. Anything with a pH below 4.5 or so is a threat to dental health.
The lower the pH, the more acidic a beverage is, and the more damage it can do. Regular tap water normally has a pH between 6 and 8, just about perfect for your mouth, which has a natural pH of about 7.4.
Carbonating water lowers its pH to about 5. This is still in what dentists consider the safe zone – erosion is more likely at a pH below 4.5.
But when flavours are added, particularly citric acid that is often used in bottled flavoured waters, the trouble begins and a lowered pH may begin to strip calcium from the teeth.
When you add carbonation to sparkling water its acidity can be increased. A 2007 study in the International Journal of Paediatric Dentistry determined that flavoured sparkling waters can have a pH as low as 2.7, far below the safe pH level and equivalent to the erosive power of orange juice.
So, that doesn’t sound great, right? But there’s good news as well!
The first point is a very important one. Sparkling water is substantially better for your teeth than soda or juices, which are not only more erosive but also contain unhealthy amounts of sugar and empty calories.
And most dentists believe that, while some laboratory studies have linked sparkling water to erosion, in the real world the risk is minimal. Professor David Manton from the University of Melbourne’s Melbourne Dental School says that carbonated water is “generally safe for teeth as long as it is drunk in moderation”.
Instead of an all-or-nothing approach to sparkling water, use the following strategies to make your sparkling water consumption safe.
Don’t drink it all the time. The main problem with carbonated beverages is when they are continuously consumed as an alternative to plain water for main hydration. The best beverage you can drink is plain fluoridated water.
Decrease sparkling water contact with teeth. The quicker you get a drink past your mouth, the less contact it has with teeth. This decreases erosion time and allows saliva is allowed to neutralise the acid in your mouth. So don’t slowly sip. Instead, use a straw, drink quickly, and then move on.
Drink it with a meal or snack. Eating stimulates the flow of acid-neutralising saliva.
Don’t swish. Don’t hold or swish carbonated water in your mouth.
Rinse with regular water after drinking sparkling water.
Use a straw. A straw keeps fluid away from your teeth.
Regular dental check-ups at Caringbah Dental Care are essential to maintaining good oral health. Comprehensive dental check ups include checking for problems that you might not see or feel, like early signs of eroded teeth., as well as personalised oral hygiene instructions. So schedule that appointment!
No gap treatment for all preventive treatments (exam, fluoride and fissure seals) for all children under 16 years covered by health funds with extra/ancillary covers (excludes fillings, extractions and major dental treatments).
Call (02) 9524 7047 or visit us at Shop 3/10-20 Mackay St in Caringbah.
Caringbah Dental Care is a family-friendly dental clinic in Caringbah, Sutherland Shire with dentists offering a combined clinical experience of over 50 years!
We are conveniently located in the heart of Caringbah suburb and situated within 5 minutes walk from public transports such as train, bus, and taxi as well as free council car parks.
We offer a complete range of general and emergency treatments, major dental treatments, cosmetic treatments, children’s dental treatment, and nitrous oxide or oral sedation methods.
Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.
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