Today in tragic news: Seltzer might be bad for your teeth
With all of the health reports out there about how nasty soda is for your health, it’s no wonder that so many people have turned to seltzer for their bubbly fix. After all, sales of sparkling waters have more than doubled over the past five years. However, we’ve got bad news for seltzer fans: It turns out it might not be as healthy as you think. Yeah, we’re crying, too.
But how could something that’s pretty much bubbly, sugar-free water be unhealthy? Isn’t it what dreams are made of? Not so, reports The Atlantic.
Even though seltzer is unflavored and doesn’t have the sugar that its unhealthy cousins have, that doesn’t make it innocent. Fizzy water still contains carbonic acid — the stuff that gives it bubbles and also wears away at tooth enamel. Generally, unflavored seltzer has a weaker acid, but when you throw flavors —especially citrus flavors — into the mix, the pH values are thrown out of whack. (For reference, flat water has a neutral pH of 7, while Perrier is 5.5.)
It may sound like a minor issue, but as The Atlantic notes, a 2007 study found that flavored sparkling waters can be as corrosive as orange juice on your teeth. “It would be inappropriate to consider these flavored sparkling waters as a healthy dental alternative to other acidic drinks,” the study read.
Seltzer is still better than regular soda, but drinking too much of it can lead to some issues at the dentist’s office later on. “There is a theoretical risk of tooth erosion, but the drinks would have to be consumed over a long period of time,” Damien Walmsley, professor of dentistry at the University of Birmingham in England, told The Atlantic. “My advice is to keep acidic drinks to meal times, and if you have to sip drinks between meals, then plain water is the safest.”
Unfortunately, we don’t have a solid number of cans you can consume per week for safe drinking, because it depends highly on other factors such as your diet and lifestyle choices and your dental history. But if your dental history isn’t so great already, and you’re not ready or willing to give up your La Croix, there are preventative measures you can take to combat negative effects.
“For an average, healthy person, carbonated, sugar-free beverages are not going to be a main cavity-causing factor,” dentist Andrew Swiatowicz told The Atlantic. “If you are at all concerned, you can always dilute the carbonated water with regular water, or even just swish with regular water after.”
New mantra, folks: La Croix and swish.
(Image via Instagram)