Seltzer, carbonated, fizzy water, or sparkling water is actually plain water into which, through a process of carbonation, carbon dioxide gas has been introduced or dissolved into. The process leads to the formation of carbonic acid, a defining ingredient in soft drinks. While sparkling water contains no sugar, it is, however, carbonated.
It’s this carbonation in the sparkling water or seltzer that makes some people get worried about the effects on their teeth. Because drinks with carbonation have a higher acid level, people have questioned whether drinking sparkling water or seltzer weakens tooth enamel making them susceptible to cavities.
How Does Seltzer Affect Your Teeth?
It is often assumed that sparkling water is a good healthy choice, but some people are suggesting that it may not be as great as it appears. Sparkling water brands are making products with added sugar which can no longer be viewed as plain sparkling water. These are, in fact, sugar-sweetened carbonated drinks, some of which are known to contribute to the risk of developing dental cavities.
Take time and know what has gone into making your sparkling water. For example, citrus-flavored sparkling waters often come with higher acid levels that put your enamel an increased risk of getting damaged. Plain sparkling water is generally better than sugary drinks in terms of dental health. In addition, even when you use sparkling water, ensure that you also drink lots of fluoridated, regular water—it’s certainly the best drink for your teeth.
Is It All A Myth?
So, is the notion that seltzer or carbonated drinks are bad for your teeth all a myth? No, they are not that bad just like most of the other things we drank. Seltzer might not be the healthiest alternative to soda, but it’s certainly a better option. Skip the carbonated soft drinks like Pepsi and instead go for S. Pellegrino and your teeth as well as your blood sugar will thank you.
If you normally make your own carbonated water, keep it simple and try flavoring your seltzer with a few crushed grapes, a slice of cucumber or apple.
So, having said the above, the final question is whether seltzer is bad for the teeth? The fact is that it’s much less erosive compared to most other beverages. If you want to keep your teeth healthy, experts recommend that you swap those sugary drinks for sparkling water or seltzer, but not entirely replacing fluoridated, regular water.
To protect your teeth, the best thing to do is to avoid seltzer beverages that are flavored with citrus or simply drink an unflavored variety of sparkling water.
Author: Peter Mayhew
Peter is a dental hygienist in the city of Chicago, IL. In his free time he likes to write blogs and product reviews on anything dental health related.