Within the United States, sparkling water is becoming a popular drink choice. Plenty of doctors and dentists have warned against drinking sugary beverages, such as sodas, so more people are turning to sparkling water as a healthier alternative. However, sparkling water has the potential to be destructive to teeth as well, and since so many people are choosing sparkling water, it’s time for dental hygienists to begin talking to their patients about this drink before it destroys their teeth.
The Problem with Sugar Sweetened Drinks
Sugar sweetened drinks are already known to be linked to diabetes, obesity, tooth decay, and more. Dentists and dental hygienists spend a lot of time warning patients about drinking sugar sweetened drinks. Diet drinks with artificial sweeteners have also been found to have negative heart risks, and the carbonation in diet beverages can result in tooth erosion. Drinking sugar sweetened drinks and diet carbonated beverages has the potential to result in tooth decay and erosion, and because of this issue, many people are choosing to drink sparkling water.
Is Sparkling Water Really a Healthier Choice?
However, is sparkling water really a healthier choice than sugar sweetened drinks and diet carbonated beverages? Most people think that sparkling water is a healthy choice – they think it’s just water. Unfortunately, sparkling water isn’t just water.
The carbonation in sparking water comes from carbon dioxide. When patients drink this water, the CO2 is turned into carbonic acid, which gives the drink a refreshing, tangy bite. However, this also makes the sparkling water acidic. The acid in these sparkling water drinks can wear away tooth enamel, and while it may not be as acidic as soft drinks or orange juice, sparkling water is more acidic than plain, pure water.
If patients are frequently reaching for sparking water, they could be doing damage to their teeth. Studies have shown that sparkling waters, particularly flavored ones, should be viewed as potentially erosive by dental hygienists and other dental professionals. Patients need to look at these drinks as acidic drinks instead of just water that has some flavoring.
Of course, while sparkling water does have the potential to cause tooth erosion, it still is a better choice than diet or regular soda. However, this doesn’t mean that it’s a great choice for patients that want to maintain oral health. Having one sparkling water per day may be fine, particularly when it’s consumed with a meal. But drinking sparkling water regularly could result in oral problems over time.
Talking to Patients About Sparkling Water
When your patients visit the office, it’s a good idea to talk about their eating and drinking habits. While most dental hygienists take the time to warn patients about drinking sugary beverages and diet sodas, many don’t think to warn patients about sparkling water. Ask patients if they are drinking sparkling water regularly. Take the time to explain to patients that sparkling water isn’t pure water – it does have the potential to do damage. Sticking with plain water or limiting sparkling water beverages is essential for preventing tooth erosion.