It’s well known that sugary teas, sodas, and juices are not good for your teeth, but have you ever stopped to consider the impacts of sparkling water and seltzer drinks? There has been an increase in the market of different types and kinds of sparkling water, including no sugar, artificially sweetened, and zero calories. Even though these drinks may not contain the harsh sugars that juices and sodas have, don’t be fooled into thinking they are not potentially harmful to your child’s teeth.
CAN SPARKLING WATER DAMAGE TEETH?
The short answer is yes. Sparkling, seltzer, and other forms of carbonated water can cause damage to your teeth due to too much acidity. When a drink is carbonated, carbonic acid develops and begins to break down tooth enamel.
BREAKING DOWN SPARKLING WATER ACIDITY
pH levels are measured from 1 to 14. A healthy mouth should have an average pH level of 7.5, and enamel begins to break down when the pH of the mouth is less than 5.5. The average pH of sparkling water is about 4.5. For reference, the pH of plain water is 7, milk is 6.8, orange juice is 3.5, and Coke is 2.4.
It’s important to remember that it is not just the carbonation affecting your child’s teeth, but the carbonic acid coupled with other drink additives like sodium bicarbonate or sodium citrate. These additives, including sweeteners and citrus-flavorings, can increase the acidity level of the drink and speed up enamel erosion.
IMPORTANCE OF TOOTH ENAMEL
It’s important to protect your tooth enamel because it doesn’t grow back once it has eroded or been worn away. Enamel, a hard, exterior coating on the teeth, protects the tissue and pulp underneath. Strong enamel is crucial to preventing tooth sensitivities, decay and cavities.
HOW TO PREVENT ENAMEL EROSION
While sparkling water is a better choice than sugary juices or soda, it is definitely not a substitute for plain water. Your child should be rinsing their teeth with plain water after every meal to wash away sugar and bacteria left behind that can cause tooth decay. That’s just one of the reasons why Dr. Banks always recommends water at mealtimes and throughout the day!
In addition to rinsing, make sure your child is sticking to a consistent dental hygiene routine that consists of brushing and flossing daily. If your child is under the age of eight, you should still be supervising while they brush and floss to ensure they are being thorough.
Don’t skip your child’s dental exams, either. Semi-annual exams at the pediatric dentist help keep your child’s dental health on track.
TALK TO THE EXPERTS
If you have more questions about the effects of sparkling water on your child’s teeth, contact Kitsap Kid’s Dentistry today. Our helpful, knowledgeable team will be more than happy to assist you in answering your questions.