Drinking large amounts of sparkling water can potentially erode tooth enamel, since it’s more acidic than regular water. However, occasionally sipping sparkling water is unlikely to cause tooth erosion.
Dentists have warned us for years about the dangers of drinking soda—rightly so. It’s one of the leading causes of cavities and tooth decay. If you still want to get your fizz fix, sparkling water is a popular option: it’s crisp, refreshing, and has zero calories—but is it better for your teeth?
In terms of your dental health and overall health, plain sparkling water is a much better alternative to sugary sports drinks, soft drinks, and juices. However, a growing body of research suggests sparkling water may not be ideal if you want to protect your pearly whites.
In this article, we’ll explore the research on sparkling water’s effects on your teeth so you can decide how much is too much.
Is Sparkling Water Bad for Your Teeth?
Drinking large amounts of sparkling water can be bad for your teeth, since its acidic nature has the potential to wear down enamel. A 2018 study in the Korean Journal of Orthodontics found that teeth exposed to carbonated water had significantly more erosion compared to a control group.
Sparkling water’s pH level is the main reason behind its potential to erode enamel. When the carbon dioxide in sparkling water dissolves, it forms carbonic acid. This process lowers the pH of the water, making it more acidic.
The critical pH of dental enamel is 5.5—anything with a lower pH value can weaken enamel and cause erosion, especially if it’s exposed to your teeth repeatedly over a long period of time.
So, just how acidic is sparkling water?
A 2015 study found that Perrier carbonated water had a pH of 5.25, while S.Pellegrino clocked in at 4.96. Those numbers aren’t nearly as bad as sugary drinks like sodas and fruit juices—many of which had a pH below 3. But it’s still not as safe as drinking plain water.
It’s worth noting that flavored sparkling waters tend to be more acidic than plain ones—and that means they increase the risk of erosion. For example, the 2015 study found that plain Dasani water had a pH level of 5.03, but Dasani Lemon water had a pH of 3.03.
Bottom line: You have to swear off sparkling water forever. Enjoying an occasional low-pH beverage is unlikely to cause severe oral health issues. But drinking it all day, every day can increase your risk of enamel erosion .
"For an average, healthy person, carbonated, sugar-free beverages are not going to be a main cavity-causing factor," Andrew Swiatowicz, DDS, told The Atlantic .
Does Sparkling Water Affect Dental Appliances?
If you have a fixed dental appliance (braces, dental bridges, crowns, implants, or dentures) you might want to avoid frequent consumption of sparkling water—and other carbonated beverages.
The Korean Journal of Orthodontics notes that carbonation can erode enamel around these appliances, which strips off adhesive and decreases their retention.
Should You Brush Your Teeth After Drinking Sparkling Water?
Considering carbonation has the potential to wear down enamel, you might be tempted to brush your teeth after sipping sparkling water. However, it’s best to wait 30 minutes after drinking sparkling water before brushing.
The acidic nature of sparkling water temporarily weakens your enamel, and brushing in this state can potentially lead to erosion since the softened enamel may be more vulnerable to abrasion.
Waiting about 30 minutes allows the saliva in your mouth to naturally neutralize the acidity and remineralize the enamel. This gives your enamel the chance to regain some of its hardness, making it less prone to damage.
Speaking of remineralization, hydroxyapatite toothpaste is the ultimate hack to protect, strengthen, and restore your enamel—no fluoride necessary. That’s why we made Fortify , infused with hydroxyapatite to naturally remineralize your teeth without any nasty ingredients.
Don’t take our word for it though. Fortify won a GQ grooming award for “Best Toothpaste.”
A Better Way to Balance Your Oral pH
As you can see, sugar isn’t the only thing that causes cavities. Your oral pH plays a key role as well. When your pH levels get thrown out of whack, it creates the perfect storm for acid-producing bacteria to thrive.
Luckily, you can quickly recalibrate your oral pH with Balance : our multivitamin mouth spray. In addition to a daily dose of liquid vitamins , Balance has a proprietary oral prebiotic blend that supports a thriving oral microbiome and a balanced oral pH.
If you prefer sparkling over still, Balance is your best friend. Sip, then spray. Simple enough, right?