Many people reach for sparkling water to sip on while getting through a long work day. It is easy to see this as a healthier alternative to ultra-sugary sodas which have been intrinsically linked to tooth decay. However, many people forget about a key lesson from high school chemistry class: pH levels. Sparkling water has actually been found to be pretty acidic and can erode away the enamel from your teeth.
pH Section Title
pH is a measurement of the acidity or the basicity of a given object and has a scale of 0-14. Numbers that are lower on this scale are acidic, with 0 being most acidic and 6 being less acidic. The number 7 is considered neutral, that is, neither acidic nor basic. The insides of our mouths and water tend to be considered neutral. Numbers above 7 are considered basic. Some examples of basic items are soaps, lye, and milk of magnesia.
As previously mentioned, our mouths are typically around a pH of 7, but this number fluctuates throughout the day and is largely depended on factors such as diet. The critical pH, or the pH where teeth dissolve, is 5.5. Sparkling water has a pH of around 3 or 4 depending if there are artificial sweeteners or not. This is well below the critical pH of the mouth. Now imagine sipping on sparkling water throughout an eight hour work day. This will surely do a lot of damage to your enamel in a much similar way to over-whitening.
What to Watch Out For
There are a number of warning signs of worn down enamel to watch out for. If you notice that your teeth have become increasingly sensitive to hot or cold temperatures then you may want to consider visiting with a dentist. Additionally, if your teeth have also become discolored, this may be a sign of the underlying dentin becoming exposed and should be addressed.
What You Can Do
Unfortunately, your teeth cannot simply rebuild worn enamel, but there are a number of ways you can protect the enamel you have and still enjoy sparkling water now and then. You should really only be drinking acidic drinks with meals. This is because saliva production tends to increase while you eat, which helps wash away the sparkling water from your teeth. If you still sip on sparkling water during work then you should rinse your mouth with water afterwards. It is important to remember not to brush right after you drink sparkling water as the bristles of the brush can accelerate the erosion of the enamel.
Visit a Dentist
If you have already lost your enamel, or are looking for extra protection for your teeth then you should consider visiting a dentist. Dental bonding is a great option if the damage is relatively minimal, and can go a long way to restore a smile. If the damage is more severe your dentist may recommend dental crowns instead. If you live in the Austin area and are concerned about tooth erosion, please consider visit Dr. Matthews at Dan Matthews, DDS. He can help address any concerns you may have and find a method of treatment that is right for you. If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment, please give us a call at (512) 520-0606.