If you are looking for a responsible drink that has a little extra pep, you might be considering sparkling water. It’s probably a good choice, although you have to consider other alternatives as well, and you may not want to drink it all day.
A Weak Acid
The concern about sparkling water is that it contains pressurized carbon dioxide. That’s what creates the hiss when you open the can or bottle, and it’s what those bubbles are made of. The problem with carbon dioxide is that it transforms into carbonic acid on your tongue, giving it a little bite in your mouth. The problem with consuming acidic foods and drinks is that they can dissolve your tooth enamel.
On the pH scale measuring the acidity of liquids, 7 is neutral and tooth enamel begins to dissolve at 5.5. The acidity of sparkling water ranges from 5 to 6, so it’s possible that it could begin to dissolve your enamel. However, when you compare it to other drinks, such as colas, which can have a pH as low as 2, or wines, which can also have a pH of 2, or even root beer, the least acidic soda, which has a pH just over 4, you can see that it’s a much better alternative. It’s also important to note that sodas contain phosphoric acid, which has a special affinity for your tooth enamel, making it even more destructive. And that the sugars in regular sodas feed oral bacteria, which produce more acids in your mouth.
The best drink is still regular tap water, which has a neutral pH and in Wilmington contains fluoride (at least for now). But if you’re going to drink sparkling water, resist the urge to add lemon or lime juice (pH 2) every time you drink. Save that for a few occasions or if you’re making a mixed drink.
Watch Out for Tooth Erosion
Consuming acidic drinks is a major cause of tooth erosion, although there are other common causes, including gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and purging behavior related to bulimia nervosa. Watch out for the following signs of tooth erosion in yourself and others:
- Yellowing teeth (won’t respond to teeth whitening)
- Tooth sensitivity to hot and cold foods
- Notches at the edges of teeth, especially at the neck
- Black triangles around the bases of teeth
If you notice these symptoms, it’s best to schedule an appointment with a dentist. We can correct tooth erosion with porcelain veneers or dental crowns, depending on the magnitude and source of erosion. For black triangles, Chao Pinhole ® gum rejuvenation or BioClear.