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How much damage is carbonated water causing your teeth?

Carbonated water, known more commonly as ‘fizzy water’ or ‘sparkling water’, is generally normal mineral water with added carbonic acid. Some people prefer drinking it to regular water and consider it a healthier alternative to soda drinks. But can carbonated water harm your teeth?

Dental Erosion

While carbonated water doesn’t usually contain any added sugar, and so will not cause the dental decay that sugary drinks will, it is more acidic than regular water and can erode enamel in much the same way that citrus fruits and acidic vinegars can[1].

According to research published in the International Journal of Paediatric Dentistry, carbonated drinks most often have a low PH level of around 3[2]. When teeth were placed in flavoured carbonated waters of this acidity, surface changes consistent with enamel erosion were observed.

The study concluded that ‘flavoured sparkling waters should be considered as potentially erosive, and preventive advice on their consumption should recognise them as potentially acidic drinks rather than water with flavouring.’

Everything in moderation

Enamel erosion is a slow process and our own saliva fights against it. Saliva contains enzymes and buffers that neutralise the acidity of carbonated water and other acidic drinks which returns the PH level of your mouth to normal, according to Dr Peter Alldritt of the Australian Dental Association[3].

Carbonated water is certainly not the most harmful drink when consumed in moderation. But drinking large volumes of it will contribute to erosion of your tooth enamel, which can increase sensitivity. This is because the enzymes in saliva take time to work, so large quantities of acidic drinks will overwhelm them and end up damaging your teeth.

References:

Dr Peter Alldritt, (2015). Australia’s Dentists support Jamie Oliver’s tax on sugar. [online] Available at:http://www.ada.org.au/App_CmsLib/Media/Lib/1509/M961502_v1_635787076066858141.pdf [Accessed 23 Nov. 2015].

C.J. Brown, et al. 2007 “The erosive potential of flavoured sparkling water drinks” International Journal of Paediatric Dentistry 13 (2), 86 – 91

J. Parry et al. 2001. “Investigation Of Mineral Waters And Soft Drinks In Relation To Dental Erosion” Journal of Oral Rehabilitation 28 (8), 766 – 772


[1] J. Parry, et al., “Investigation of mineral waters and soft drinks in relation to dental erosion” Journal of Oral Rehabilitation 28, no. 8 (2001): 769

[2]  C.J. Brown, et al., “The erosive potential of flavoured sparkling water drinks” International Journal of Paediatric Dentistry 13, no. 2 (2007): 88

[3] Dr Peter Alldritt, (2015). Australia’s Dentists support Jamie Oliver’s tax on sugar. [online] Available at:http://www.ada.org.au/App_CmsLib/Media/Lib/1509/M961502_v1_635787076066858141.pdf [Accessed 23 Nov. 2015].

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