Principal dentist Dr Jignesh Patel looks at this popular alternative to high sugar drinks.
Many of our patients will have read about the harm that high sugar fizzy drinks can do to your teeth, not only from the sugar content but also the acidity levels. This can lead to enamel erosion and a number of other dental problems.
It is one thing to suggest that people avoid drinks like this, but it is also only natural that if people do, they will look for alternatives to it. One popular alternative is fizzy water, whether flavoured or plain. These are very popular with young children who like the ‘fizz’ sensation, and with adults who find them more interesting and refreshing than plain still water.
It is the acidic levels of drinks that cause the most damage. Tests have been done on a number of beverages including carbonated water. Those with a PH level below 3.0 were deemed to be extremely erosive, between 3.0 and 3.99 fairly erosive and above 4.0 to be potentially minimally erosive. Unsurprisingly, the high sugar sports drinks, whether carbonated or not, fell into the extremely erosive category. What is perhaps the most interesting finding of this study though is that of carbonated water.
Tests were done on a variety of brands of plain bottle carbonated and non carbonated water. These were tested both at room temperature and chilled from the fridge. What was discovered is that the water had a higher PH value (less erosive) when it was non carbonated and at room temperature. The carbonated ones that were taken straight from the fridge were found to be a lower PH value, although still above the 4.0 that is deemed to be minimally erosive.