It’s no secret that everyone consumes too much sugar. Each American adds nearly 3 lbs. of sugar in their diet every week! Nearly one quarter of that added sugar comes from sugary beverages like soda. That’s why the recent popularity of fizzy, zero-calorie beverages is encouraging…especially to those of us at Hacienda Pediatric Dentistry. Brands like La Croix, Spindrift and Bubly have started to replace popular high sugar sodas as the drinks of choice for adults, teens and even children. It is difficult to go anywhere in Hacienda Heights without seeing someone drinking these zero calorie sodas. However, is carbonated water good for your teeth?
Enamel: Your first line of defense
Your tooth’s enamel is the hardest substance in your body. However, it’s not impenetrable and needs to be protected. The primary method by which enamel is protected is via saliva. Your saliva contains a protective mix of calcium and phosphate with a normal pH of around 7. This neutral pH and calcium/phosphate balance prevents the enamel from decaying and demineralizing.
Introducing sparkling water
Sparkling water is created by adding carbon dioxide. This added carbon dioxide creates carbonic acid, which has a low pH of 3-4. Carbonic acid is what gives these drinks their “bubbly bite” and creates a pleasant taste on the tongue. Unfortunately, the low pH of the carbonic acid causes the pH in your mouth to drop below 5.5. This in turn causes calcium and phosphate to move out of the tooth enamel into the saliva to re-balance the saliva back to a pH of 7. This process is called demineralization.
How demineralization harms enamel
When tooth strengthening minerals begin to exit your enamel, small pores are created and the enamel begins to dissolve. While these pores can still be “repaired” with additional calcium or fluoride (from toothpaste or fluoride varnish), constant exposure to carbonic acid means can overwhelm the positive effects of added calcium and fluoride.
Bad for teeth?
While replacing sweetened beverages with plain sparking water is certainly better for your teeth and overall health, it’s not without its drawbacks. It’s best to choose regular water whenever possible and save fizzy drinks for a special treat.
What Are Some Other Ways to Protect Your Teeth?
To battles against cavities and enamel erosion, there are a few things you can do:
- Brush with specially formulated toothpaste to help strengthen tooth enamel, replenish natural calcium, and protect against tooth sensitivity
- Limit exposure to sweet and or carbonated drinks
- See Hacienda Pediatric Dentistry for preventive care to detect early signs of tooth decay when it is easy to correct or reverse
Have more questions about how you can care for your child’s teeth? We would love to talk! Parents of children in Hacienda Heights are encouraged to schedule an appointment at Hacienda Pediatric Dentistry by calling 626-964-0129 or by filling out our Contact form.