Sorry Seltzer Lovers, We Have Bad News For You

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Seltzer: It’s often thought of as the healthy alternative to soda—a bubbly drink that provides more of a kick than plain old water, minus any negative side effects of its sugary counterparts.

But now The Atlantic is reporting it might not be all so great for your smile. The reason: The fizzy water contains carbonic acid, an ingredient that makes it more acidic than plain water, something that can gradually wear away at tooth enamel. Even worse, the pH of seltzer goes down even more (making it more acidic) when it’s flavored. 

“The pH of sparkling water is about three, therefore it does eat away tooth enamel,” explains New York cosmetic dentist Mojgan Fajiram, DDS. “Studies have shown that flavored sparking water has as much or more of an erosive effect on teeth than orange juice, which is known to be very erosive to teeth.”

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“Most everyone knows that drinking water is really good for you—but it does depend on the type of water you choose to drink. The goal should be to select water that is as close to neutral pH (7.0) as possible, but if the pH is higher generally not a problem,” explains Atlanta cosmetic dentist Ronald E. Goldstein, DDS, adding that tap water can be several points higher. “However, if the pH is lower, it means it is considered more acidic. This may not be a problem if you do not drink too much too often. If you have a habit of consuming several bottles of Perrier each day (which has a published pH of 5.46) then over a period of years we might expect to see some enamel wear.”

Dr. Goldstein also points out that even lemon juice to your tap or bottle water can bring down the pH to around 2.5. “Then we definitely will see enamel wear. The best advice is to be alert to the type of water, juice or pop in your daily routine.”

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