Is soda water safe for your teeth?

Soda water and your teeth

The question we often hear: ‘Is soda water bad for my teeth?’

The simple answer is yes, it is harmful to your teeth.

Why should you think again about soda water as a ‘healthy drink’?

Soda water is carbonated water. During the carbonation process acid is produced, which results in the soda water having a pH of approximately 3, whereas pure water has a pH of 7.  The critical pH of tooth enamel is 5.5, which refers to the acidity limit teeth can tolerate before demineralisation begins. This means soda water is a highly acidic drink, below the critical pH of tooth enamel, and therefore damages your teeth every time it is consumed. Understanding and giving more thought to the pH of our drinks is vital, helping to identify when minerals are lost from the outer surface of the teeth (enamel).

What are the adverse effects of drinking soda water?

Adverse effects of from drinking soda water may be minor, to begin with, but can develop into more difficult-to-manage and painful dental conditions. As the enamel erodes, the tooth becomes weaker and has irreversible effects — the enamel is permanently lost and the next layer, the dentin is exposed. Dentin is slightly darker in colour and is sensitive when eating and drinking in general, or while consuming cold drinks and sweet foods.  Dentin erodes at a quicker rate compared to enamel, with a critical pH of 6.5. As the tooth structure is weakened, the erosion gets closer to the nerve chamber of the tooth, which can compromise the entire tooth’s future.

These processes of demineralisation from acidic drinks are termed dental erosion. Despite it being a common condition, dental erosion is difficult to manage and can have problematic consequences. Not only is drinking soda water damaging, but the risk of damage to teeth increases if soda water is combined with sweet flavourings (cordial or soft drinks). This results in a combined risk of dental erosion and dental decay through exposure to high levels of sugar.

In order to minimise future problems related to dental erosion, it is always encouraged to take preventative measures. Many of these are lifestyle and dietary modifications. However, to receive tailored recommendations and support, it is recommended to speak with your dentist and maintain regular check-up appointments.

Recommendations

  • Drink soda water and acidic drinks in moderation
  • If drinking soda water and acidic beverages, drink them with food as opposed to  
    sipping between meal times.
  • To dilute to acidic environment from soda, rinse with still water afterwards
  • Wait 30 minutes after drinking soda water to brush teeth
  • Replenish lost minerals by using a fluoridated toothpaste
  • Maintain regular dental check-ups