That is, obviously, the short answer. We will elaborate and explain the details of how seltzer drinks affect natural teeth. We will also give you tips on enjoying your favorite beverages in a way that reduces the risk of tooth damage.
What are Seltzer Drinks?
Seltzer drinks are canned or bottled beverages gaining in popularity. Some would classify them as a type of sparkling water. You may recognize brands like LaCroix, Bubbly, Topo Chico, Perrier, and San Pellegrino.
Many of these carbonated beverages contain added flavorings and are sugar-free. This makes them a popular alternative to sodas.
How are Seltzer Drinks Harmful to Your Teeth?
As we mentioned above, these drinks are typically sugar-free. That leads many people to mistakenly believe that they are perfectly safe for your dental health. Unfortunately, they still have the potential to damage enamel and dentin (the hard structures of the teeth).
The risk for teeth from seltzer drinks comes from the low pH of these beverages. They are very acidic and carry the potential of causing acid-related damage.
Drinking large amounts of acidic beverages lowers the pH in the mouth, which leads to a high risk for two dental problems: cavities and acid erosion.
The bacteria inside dental plaque cause cavities by producing strong acids. When the pH is lower than neutral inside the mouth (as it is when you drink a lot of seltzer), it is easier for these bacteria to penetrate tooth enamel. They have to produce less acid to damage teeth because the lower pH lowers the threshold for cavity-causing bacteria to thrive.
Acid erosion is a serious condition that causes a gradual loss of enamel and dentin. Acid erosion is a chemical wearing away of hard tooth structure. This condition can shorten and flatten teeth. It typically causes sensitivity, and it may require expensive dental treatments to repair.
Are Seltzer Drinks More Harmful than Sodas and Sports Drinks?
The pH of seltzer drinks is similar to that of sodas and sports drinks, and they tend to contain high levels of sugar. The risk for cavities is much higher from sodas and sports drinks than from seltzer drinks.
How Can I Enjoy Seltzer Drinks and Protect My Teeth?
If you enjoy seltzer drinks on a daily basis, you should take preventive measures to protect your teeth against the damage of the acidic pH. There are several important ways you can fight acid in your mouth.
- Drink The Seltzer Drink Quickly and/or With A Meal
The greatest risk for the damage occurs when you sip on seltzer drinks over a prolonged period of time. This keeps the pH in your mouth in the acidic range, making cavities and acid erosion more likely. Instead, try to enjoy your seltzer with a meal if possible. The chewing and food that accompany mealtime produce high levels of saliva, which is our best weapon against acid!
If you enjoy your seltzer drink between meals, try to avoid sipping on it, but rather drink it quickly. The goal is to shorten the amount of time that you expose your teeth to acids.
- Chew Sugar-Free Gum Afterward
Chewing sugar-free gum is a wonderful way to stimulate the increased production of saliva. Saliva is alkaline in pH and contains reparative minerals that help enamel and dentin fight the effects of acid. Chewing gum is a way to quickly neutralize the pH in your mouth following an acidic drink.
- Strengthen Hard Tooth Structures
Unfortunately, not everyone has enamel that is strong enough to fight acid attacks. We can strengthen enamel by adding important minerals into our oral care routines or receiving preventive treatments from the dentist. There are multiple products that contain remineralizing agents, which add minerals back into the hard tooth structure and make it stronger. You should follow your dentist’s recommendations for the best oral care products for your particular level of cavity risk. For many, using over-the-counter fluoride toothpaste is sufficient to fight cavities and acid erosion. For others with higher risk, prescription-strength products or in-office dental treatments may be necessary to harden enamel and prevent damage from acidic drinks.
More Questions about Seltzer Drinks? Call Rockland Dental Today!
Call Rockland Dental Specialists today at (845) -259-2500 or contact us to schedule a consultation with our dental experts. We can answer any question you have about seltzer drinks and how they could be affecting your teeth.