Most people are aware of the inherent dangers of that soda habit they promise to break. It doesn’t matter if you drink a full-leaded beverage made with sugar, or a diet soda that uses a sugar alternative, there is more to carbonated beverages than meets the eye. Believe it or not, you even want to think twice before popping the top on that “sparkling water!”
The Problem with Carbonation
Many people turn to sparkling water beverages as an alternative to soda because such drinks still provide the satisfaction of a soda-like fizz. Because many of these beverages are sugar-free – some are even “all natural” – they seem an innocuous choice. When you look at the issue of pH level, you quickly see that this is not the case.
Every beverage has a pH level, which indicates its acidity. Acidity is relevant to oral health because this is what breaks down health enamel and gum tissue. You might be surprised to learn that acidity is at the heart of tooth decay, not sugar. Additionally, the continual “washing” that teeth get from soda and other carbonated beverages can also lead to widespread erosion, which weakens the structural integrity of teeth.
Water gives us an excellent gauge for pH. Plain water measures a pH of 7, which is good because we want a higher number. On the lowest end of the scale is battery acid, which measures 1. Soda products fall across a range of 2.3 pH to just over 4. Carbonated water fits right into that range, between 3 and 4 pH. And if a citrus juice is added to that carbonated water, the pH may fall below 3.
How to Protect your Teeth
It may not be necessary to completely give up the fizz you crave. The occasional splurge on such a treat should not be cause for alarm. Consider, as well, that mineral water also has a bit of bubble without the acidity of other carbonated beverages. Also, if and when you do enjoy a carbonated beverage, follow it up by brushing, rinsing, or chewing. Studies show that xylitol gum can dilute acidity and add an ounce of protection to teeth.
The team at Galleria Dental Aesthetics can help you manage your healthiest smile. Call our McLean office at (703) 448-1020.