We can be forgiven for thinking drinking a glass of sparkling water is the same as drinking tap or filtered water – after all they look the same, except for the bubbles! But did you know that fizzy water is not actually benefiting your health?
Even when it’s unflavoured, fizzy water contains carbonic acid, which gives it bubbles. That acidity can gradually wear away tooth enamel. The good news is, it’s a relatively weak acid. And if you like to add some flavouring, such as SodaStream, this can bring the pH down, making the beverages even harsher on tooth enamel.
One 2007 study in which researchers exposed human teeth to flavoured sparkling waters for 30 minutes found the waters to be roughly as corrosive as orange juice. “It would be inappropriate to consider these flavoured sparkling waters as a healthy dental alternative to other acidic drinks,” that study concluded.
“For an average, healthy person, carbonated, sugar-free beverages are not going to be a main cavity-causing factor”, Andrew Swiatowicz, a dentist in Wilmington, Delaware told Atlantic. “If you are at all concerned, you can always dilute the carbonated water with regular water, or even just swish with regular water after”.
So how can you tell what will be bad for your teeth and health? Always read the ingredient list and keep a look out for additives, like sodium and sugar, to avoid negative consequences for your teeth and body. Be aware of the differences between fizzy waters:
- Club soda (carbonated water)/sparkling water contains sodium
- Soda water is very similar to club soda, but there is a notable difference between the two. Unlike soda water, mineral-like ingredients are added to club soda to enhance the flavour. If you look on the list of ingredients, you’ll likely see potassium bicarbonate and potassium sulfate listed.
- Tonic water contains added sweeteners and flavours.
- Flavoured sparkling water may have added citric acid or natural sweeteners, along with caffeine and sodium.