August 2018: Is Carbonated Water Bad for Your Teeth?

Is Carbonated Water Bad for Your Teeth?

It is a well known fact that pop or soda is bad for your teeth. Everyone has seen the experiment where you put a tooth in a cup of coke and it totally dissolves away! Therefore a lot of people have moved away from these sugary carbonated drinks to have just plain carbonated water. But is this really better for your teeth? Are these carbonated drinks just as acidic and causing your teeth to erode?

A McGill Chemistry student decided to put various flavored and non-flavored carbonated water brads to the test to see where they fell on the pH scale. What she found was that in the cold, carbonated form their pH’s ranged from 3.69 (club soda) to 5.12 (Badoit brand). In general teeth begin to demineralize at a pH of 5.5, however it is not so cut and dry and is linked to the amount of calcium and phosphate available in the saliva.

“Essentially, dental enamel is made mostly of hydroxyapatite, which dissolves in water to form calcium, phosphate and hydroxyl (OH-) ions. So when we drink liquids without calcium or phosphate ions in them, or with decreased hydroxyl ion amounts (such as acidic solutions) some amount of the minerals from our teeth dissolve into the liquid (the universe likes to balance things as much as it can). This occurs every single time you drink water, but only in tiny amounts (about 30 mg in 1 L of water), since the pH of water is neutral. When we drink acidic drinks, like sodas, fruit juices, or (mildly) acidic bubbly waters, the minerals in our teeth dissolve in a process called demineralization.”

So…are carbonated waters bad for your teeth? I wouldn’t say they are good but they may not be as bad as some of the alternatives like Gatorade (pH=3) or Coke (pH=2.4). Overall, drinking still tap water (pH=7.0) is best for your teeth (especially if you live in an area that has fluoridated water) or even milk (pH=6.4). However, if you have a craving for something carbonated grab the carbonated water but just give your mouth a rinse with tap water afterwards.

Dr. Lauren Vredenburg

Calgary Fine Dentistry