We all love to have some sparkling water right after a hefty meal. However, recently there have been many debates regarding this sparkling drink. Is carbonated water bad for your teeth? This is a question of concern for many. So what is the truth? Here is the answer you’ve been looking for.
Sparkling water is usually preferred over other coloured, sugary drinks by health experts. This article helps you to explore this in detail.
1. Carbonated Water
The frizzy soda we get is nothing but some water dissolved with carbon dioxide. There are both natural and artificial sources for this sparkling water. When CO2 is dissolved into water under high-pressure conditions, it creates artificial sparkling water, the one we are familiar with. Natural sources of seltzer water can be springs like Hooper Springs (U.S.). But remember that both are somewhat different.
The bubbly water usually known as sparkling water, seltzer water, frizzy water, etc is produced artificially. Hence raises many concerns regarding the health effects of the drinks on humans.
i) Chemical Composition
Chemically, sparkling water is slightly acidic as it contains carbon dioxide. The carbon dioxide reacts with water and forms carbonic acid. But its pH value is between 3 and 4, making it a weak acid. Artificially manufactured carbonated water might also contain traces of sodium chloride, sodium bicarbonate, etc.
The use of sparkling water among communities has been traced back to the 1600s. But it is also right to say that they are way older than that. Fermented beverages like beer, champagne, cider, etc contain sparkling water. So the consumption of sparkling water is an age-old practice. As stated above, sparkling water is slightly acidic carbonic acid. So it was only natural for it to occur in fermented beverages.
iii) Making Process
The artificial sparkling water we are familiar with is manufactured through a process called carbonation. The process of dissolving carbon dioxide in water under high-pressure conditions is called carbonation. Carbonation results in the bubbly, foamy structure of the water and makes it effervescent.
2. Concerns Regarding Carbonated Water
Usually, questions are raised regarding the consumption of carbonated water. Is it bad for your teeth? Some are also worried that regular consumption of carbonated water can affect bones and may cause their slow degradation.
Another concern regarding carbonated water is its consumption along with citric acid and fruit juices. Some people love to squeeze a lemon into their frizzy drink to make it even more frizzier. Many are concerned with reactions between the acid present in the sparkling water and the acid in the lemon. Questions are raised about whether it is a cause of enamel decay.
We can also find people claiming that sparkling water leads to calcium loss.
3. Is Carbonated Water Bad for Your Teeth?
As many are concerned, unsweetened sparkling water has no or little connection with tooth decay or enamel loss. Then, why this smoke without a fire? Here is the reason.
People are unaware of the main difference between sparkling water and other carbonated, sweetened drinks. Sweetened beverages have a crucial role in health. They consist of added sugar and hence are not recommended.
If you are a regular consumer of such carbonated drinks, the sugar present in them can damage your tooth, bones, and enamel.
i) How Sugar Decays Your Teeth Enamel?
As we all know, our mouth is home to various bacteria. When sugar, in the liquid form, is consumed it allows some particles of sugar to stay in our mouth. They react with the bacteria present inside. It leads to the formation of harmful acids, creating an acidic environment in our mouth, This triggers tooth decay and enamel loss.
The acids formed by the sugar first attack and weaken the tooth enamel. The enamel covering of our teeth protects our teeth and helps the teeth to stay strong and rigid. The repeated usage of sugar slowly decays the enamel and forms cavities. When there are many cavities in our teeth, the degradation process begins. Therefore, we are advised to consume as much less sugar as possible.
4. Seltzer Water v/s Normal Water
Normal tap water is usually neutral in chemical nature. It consists of traces of various minerals, although the amount can vary across regions. Unlike this, seltzer water is slightly acidic due to the presence of carbonic acid. Usually, acidic water is not preferred for drinking purposes as they are said to cause acid erosion of your teeth.
However, health experts have confirmed that frizzy water is unharmful as it is very slightly acidic. According to a study by The American Dental Association, regular consumption of unsweetened carbonated beverages would require 100s of years for enamel degradation. However, experts would choose flat water over carbonated beverages.
Carbonated water can also contain very few fluorides and calcium ions, which are only present as traces in tap water.
5. Carbonated Water v/s Sugary Drinks
Other drinks containing added sugar like flavoured milk, sweetened tea/coffee, energy drinks, sports drinks, etc are also sometimes carbonated. They are usually termed sugary drinks or soft drinks.
Often plain carbonated water is confused with soft drinks and is blamed for the health hazards caused by these soft drinks.
Normal carbonated water may contain traces of minerals or other salts like sodium bicarbonate or sodium chloride. But they do not contain any added sugar or artificial sweeteners. Such drinks are proven to be a dangerous health hazard by various research and studies.
6. Carbonated Water and Other Liquids
Seltzer water is often mixed with other liquids like lemon, orange, fruit, and alcoholic beverages. Let us check their reactions and their role in oral health.
i) Citric Acid
When carbonated water is topped with citric acid sources, it increases the pH of the water, making it more acidic. As stated earlier, the more acidic the water is, the more harmful it is to your teeth. Regular consumption can lead to enamel erosion and permanent change in the pH levels of the mouth. It might as well affect the digestive system making it more acidic, and prone to gastric troubles.
Also, some people love to add sugar or salt to this mixture. Adding salt is less harmful compared to sugar. Sugar combined with acid can be harmful to your teeth depending on the strength of the acid.
ii) Other Fruit Juices
Although, citric acid is the most popular mix with sparkling water, other fruit juices like that of pineapple, grape, etc are also added to them sometimes. We know that other acids present in fruit juices are less destructive than citric acid. But, when it is combined with sparkling water it can cause demineralization of tooth enamel.
This can be destructive but not to the extent of the damage citric acid causes. Therefore, to stay on the safe side, it is advised not to drink sparkling water mixed with citrus fruits or any other fruits regularly.
iii) Alcoholic Beverages
Alcoholic beverages like whiskey and brandy are usually topped with soda water to dilute the mixture and increase fizziness. Mixing alcoholic beverages will cause the drink to move into your bloodstream faster. Resulting in alcohol absorption by the body faster. When mixed with carbonated water, alcohol can make our throat dry faster. This affects the amount of saliva present in our mouth.
Now, let us explore the advantages and disadvantages of carbonated drinks.
7. Carbonated Water – Advantages
According to various research and studies, Seltzer water can be beneficial when consumed without adding anything. Some of the advantages of sparkling water are as follows:
i) Helps With Digestion
According to an article published by UChicago Medicine, carbonated water improves digestion and prevents constipation. Many other researchers also agree with this fact. Also, sparkling water can be a good replacement for other sugary soft drinks as it is healthier.
ii) Is a Good Source of Hydration
Sparkling water can also help someone who is dehydrated. This sparkling water can hydrate a person faster than water or other supplements. Drinking Seltzer water is an ideal solution for dehydration.
iii) Increase Ability to Swallow Food
Sparkling water can increase your swallowing ability. It can be helpful for people with swallowing problems. If consumed with their meals it can help them to an extent. Some are even prescribed to undertake carbonated water in preferred amounts.
iv) Helps in Weight Management
It is beneficial for those who wish to manage their weight. Due to the amount of carbon present in it and its acidic properties, sparkling water plays a crucial role in your weight management journey. As the intake of sparkling water can make you feel full, it cleverly prevents you from over-eating.
8. Carbonated Water – Disadvantages
The following are the disadvantages of sparkling water:
i) Gas and Bloating
The so-called disadvantage of sparkling water is that it might cause gas and bloating in some people. It can be because there is excess CO2 present in the water. So, it is also important to be aware of the amount of gas present in your sparkling water. It results in people feeling congested and full. The preferred amount of CO2 is 6-8 g/l.
However, if you have an abnormally functioning gastro-endocrinal system, carbonated water can cause you problems. So it is advised to people suffering from gastro-endocrinal diseases to stay away from sparkling water.
Apart from that, plain carbonated water has no other disadvantages, according to medical experts. However, it is good to keep in mind that research and experiments are still being conducted regarding the same.
9. When to Drink Carbonated Water?
Since we know about the perks and lows of sparkling water, let us explore how to avoid the unnecessary usage of sparkling water.
- Sipping sparkling water can help you hydrate faster when you feel dehydrated.
- If you feel like you are over-eating, add a little sparkling water to your meals to prevent over-eating.
- If you have any weight management plans by taking off the extra food you eat from the plate, sparkling water can help you.
- If you are addicted to sweetened carbonated water, plain unsweetened carbonated water can be your healthy alternative. It will be less harmful.
- If you are a person looking to drink something frizzy, seltzer water is your best option.
10. When You Should Be Worried?
- If your carbonated water contains added sugar in any form, you should be worried about your oral health.
- If you mix carbonated water with acid sources like lemon juice, you can worry about tooth erosion
- Mixing fruit juices with sparkling water is less erosive, but still not advised
- If you are addicted to carbonated sugary drinks, you should immediately stop their continuous and repeated usage.
- If you are a consumer of carbonated drinks with other acidic beverages you should be careful with your oral health. It can also affect the pH values of your digestive system.
- If you face issues like gas and bloating you should immediately stop the usage of carbonated water.
Always remember that flat water or tap water is the best drink for your health. But carbonated water is not as bad as the internet thinks. It was proven to have no or very less direct effects on tooth enamel erosion and decay.
However, you should remember that it can cause gas and bloating for some people and you should ensure that you do not have any other health issues.
Seltzer water is a safe alternative to other drinks, say club soda, the main source of enamel erosion and tooth decay. But you should be aware of the carbon dioxide content, pH, dissolved minerals, and salts present in it to ensure the extent of safety of the seltzer water you are drinking.
Also, note that sparkling water can have adverse effects once it is mixed with other liquids like fruit juices or acidic beverages. Therefore, it is advisable to not consume these regularly and only when it is necessary.
Carbonated water has a few disadvantages as there is no rose without a thorn. However, it is still considered a healthy alternative compared to other harmful soft drinks. So there is no need to throw away that soda maker in your home, worrying about your oral health.[amazon_auto_links id="280559"]