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Is Your Sugar-Free Seltzer Habit Bad For Your Teeth?
August 11, 2018
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cans of sugar free coca cola

Trendy sparkling waters are popping up everywhere you look. From grocery stores to gas stations, these sugar-free (and many calorie-free!) seltzer waters are helping many kick their soda habits, and make staying hydrated a little more exciting. But do these fizzy drinks have the same damaging effects on your teeth?

 

Carbonation and Cavities

While the short answer may be that most dentists are in agreement that your sparkling water is safe for your teeth, there is a little more to it than that with many different factors at play. For starters, not all seltzer waters are created equal, and if your taste buds lean towards a sparkling water that’s sweetened with sugar and artificial flavoring, you might be drinking something that is considered highly erosive on your enamel.

Even when it’s unflavored, fizzy water contains a carbonic acid, which is what gives the water its bubbles. That acidity can gradually wear away tooth enamel. The good news is, the acidity occurring in sparkling water is a relatively weak acid and far less in magnitude than what you might get with citrus juice or many sodas and sports drinks on the market, making it a healthy swap for other more harmful daily drinks.

For an average, healthy person, carbonated, sugar-free beverages are not going to be the main cause of cavities.

 

Watch Out for Water Add-ins

Drinking a glass of water becomes a little more exciting for your taste buds when you add in a little something extra to give it some flavor, and there’s no harm in that…right? Wrong! Depending on your add-in of choice, you might be damaging your enamel more than you think.

Lemon and lime wedges

Drinking a glass of lemon water has become one of the leading dietary trends for those looking to reduce bloating, lose weight over time, or just to make drinking your daily water requirement more exciting. But citric acid within lemons and limes can have a significant damaging effect on your teeth. Citric acid wears away the enamel and allows other acids and sugars access to the tooth underneath, which leads to cavities over time.

Flavored water drops

These tiny squeeze bottles contain concentrated flavor that can be added to water a few droplets at a time, adding both sweetness and a bright, new color. If you use water enhancers, follow the guidelines for serving sizes and how many times a day they’re recommended to use. These water drops are often sweetened with sugar and other artificial ingredients that can be damaging to your enamel.

Tips For Healthier Water Habits

If you’ve become dependent on your sparkling or flavored water to get you through the day and get your recommended amount of hydration in, there are techniques you can use to mitigate the impact those drinks containing acid have on your teeth. Consider the following tips for keeping your teeth protected:

 

Try drinking with a straw. Many patients find that drinking their beverage of choice with a straw is a great way to limit its impact on their teeth and gums. By using a straw, you’re helping your teeth from being bathed in the beverage.

 

Switch to essential oils. By using essential oils instead of water flavorings like lemons, limes, and other flavor add-ins, you’ll be harnessing flavor from less harmful components like the peels of the fruit. This allows you to get the same great, sweet taste with far less acidic content than the actual fruit itself.

 

Rinsing your mouth. Swishing your mouth with regular, unflavored water after enjoying a flavored beverage will help to rinse the harmful acids away from the surface of your teeth, making cavities less likely.

 

Learning to drink unflavored, all-natural water is a good habit to develop, and is the best way to keep your teeth clean and your body hydrated. Ask our Huber Heights dentist about other ways to enjoy water more at your next appointment.