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.
Water is good for us, both for our general health and in the prevention of oral health issues such as gum disease. If you were to swap a high sugar drink for a cold carbonated bottle of water, that would definitely be a beneficial move. There is probably no need to be overly concerned about drinking carbonated water (unsweetened and unflavoured) unless you are to drink very large quantities of it.
One thing that is certainly worth noting is that bottled water doesn’t usually contain fluoride. This mineral is important in helping you to have strong and healthy enamel on your teeth which in turn helps to protect the teeth from tooth decay and erosion. While it should cause no concern to drink bottled fizzy water, if you were to avoid fluoride tap water altogether, your teeth may be less well protected.
To this end, we suggest that you drink largely tap water when available, but do feel free to enjoy a bottle of cold fizzy natural water when you are out, especially in the hotter weather.
Of course, what you eat and drink is only partially responsible for the health of your teeth and gums. Good brushing and flossing at home, along with regular monitoring by one of our Clapham dentists is essential to keep your teeth in the best health possible.
If you are not registered with a local dentist or are interested in seeing what services we can offer you, why not call the Confidental Clinic Clapham on 020 7801 9060 for a free initial non-clinical consultation. We look forward to seeing you!