Why sparkling water may not be as healthy as you think

Sparkling water is often promoted as a healthy alternative to soda. But the bubbly beverage is not without its potential health risks.

Olga Khazan, a staff writer at The Atlantic and self-professed sparkling water addict, posed a question to dentists on Twitter, and found mixed answers.

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Sparkling water contains carbonic acid, which may increase the risk of tooth enamel erosion. In a 2007 UK study, flavored sparkling water was determined by researchers to be potentially erosive.

The researchers concluded, “It would be inappropriate to consider these flavored sparkling waters as a healthy dental alternative to other acidic drinks, which are capable of contributing to erosion.”

But what about unflavored sparkling water? Researchers found that the pH level was not as acidic as soda but was more acidic than still water.

Khazan talked to Damien Walmsley, a professor of dentistry in England, who said sparkling water posed a “theoretical risk” of tooth erosion if consumed over a long period of time. Walmsley recommended drinking any kind of acidic drink with meals and to sip still water between meals.

If you are really concerned about tooth enamel damage, dentist Andrew Swiatowicz offered Khazan another tip: rinse with still water after consuming a sparkling water beverage. Khazan has another more drastic plan.

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