Studies show that consuming too much carbonated drinks can increase the risk of tooth erosion.
SAN FRANCISCO, CA, February 04, 2020 /Neptune100/ — Americans love their soft drinks. In 2018, the average person drank nearly 40 gallons of soda. While that sounds like a lot, it is a decrease from the high of 53 gallons per person in 2000. Still, over half of people drink soft drinks several times a week or daily. To cut down on soda, more people are turning to carbonated water or sparkling water. Unfortunately, that might not be the healthiest choice either.
“Sparkling water is made by infusing water with carbon dioxide gas which produces carbonic acid,” says Dr. Ben Amini, a practicing dentist and an associate clinical professor in San Francisco. Other carbonated waters can include club soda, soda water, fizzy water and seltzer water. They can have salt, minerals or other additives included to improve or alter their tastes. The chemical reaction between the carbon dioxide and water creates carbonic acid, a type of acid that stimulates the nerve receptors in your mouth, producing the characteristic sensation of carbonation.
That same satisfying fizz that feels so stimulating against your tongue is less enjoyable for your teeth. Carbonated drinks, including sparkling water, could weaken the enamel on your teeth. Dental enamel, the hard outer part of the tooth, is especially susceptible to acid erosion. “Teeth erode in the pH range of 2.0-4.0,” says Dr. Amini
While occasional carbonated water does not necessarily cause damage, it could be a problem for those who indulge frequently or for children. According to statistics, about 60 percent of kids and teens consume soft drinks at least daily, and their consumption tends to increase with age. Kids are getting nearly 10 percent of their daily calories from soft drinks and sodas, according to the CDC.
I encourage people to read the 2016 article released by the American Dental Association and see if their favorite drink is on the list,” says Dr. Amini. ” From there you can see the level of erosiveness of your favorite drink along with various drinks.”
To minimize the potential effects on teeth, people should limit consumption to sugar-free sparkling water and avoid citrus-flavored waters, which tend to be highest in acid. Make your primary drink a fluoridated water, which helps combat cavities by strengthening enamel and interfering with oral bacteria.
“Some studies show benefit of drinking a type of carbonated water where the water is sourced from the natural springs. There are elements in the natural spring water that counteracts with dental erosion and minimizes the erosiveness of the sparkling water,” says Dr. Ben Amini. “Drink the carbonated water with meals or in a single sitting rather than sipping all day.”
Improved dental care can also help protect teeth. Dr. Amini works with patients to help them choose the best preventive treatments for their needs. Children may benefit from additional fluoride treatments while adults might need more regular cleanings and checkups.
About Dr. Ben Amini
Dr. Ben Amini is a graduate of the University of California, San Francisco, and an Associate Clinical Professor at UCSF School of Dentistry. He is a member of the American Dental Association, the California Dental Association, and the International College of Oral Implantology. He holds a Fellowship at the Academy of General Dentistry. He is the founder of CitiDent, a private group practice in San Francisco where he leads a group of general dentists and dental specialists.