Sparkling water is a popular beverage among adults and children alike. Its bubbly and refreshing taste makes it a great alternative to sugary drinks like soda. However, some parents are concerned about the effect of sparkling water on their children’s teeth.
What Is Sparkling Water?
Sparkling water is simply water that has been carbonated to produce bubbles. It’s also known as carbonated water, soda water, or seltzer water. Some sparkling water brands add flavors or sweeteners to their product, but plain sparkling water is just water and carbon dioxide.
Why Is There Concern about Sparkling Water and Teeth?
Sparkling water is acidic, which means it has a low pH level. Acidic beverages can erode tooth enamel when consumed frequently, leading to tooth decay and cavities. Some sparkling water brands add citric acid to their product for flavor, which is even more acidic than carbonated water alone.
What Does Research Say?
Studies on the effect of sparkling water on teeth are limited, but the research that has been conducted shows that sparkling water is less harmful to teeth than sugary drinks like soda. In a study published in the Journal of Oral Rehabilitation, researchers found that sparkling water had a minimal effect on tooth enamel compared to soda and fruit juice. Another study published in the Journal of Dentistry found that sparkling water was less erosive than orange juice.
However, it’s important to note that while sparkling water may be less harmful to teeth than sugary drinks, it can still harm oral health if consumed excessively. A study published in the journal Public Health Nutrition found that children who drank more than one liter of sparkling water daily had a higher risk of tooth decay than those who drank less.
What Can Parents Do to Protect Their Children’s Teeth?
While sparkling water is less harmful to teeth than sugary drinks, it’s still important for parents to take steps to protect their children’s oral health.
1. Encourage children to drink plain water. Water is the best beverage for overall health, including oral health.
2. Limit the amount of sparkling water children consume. While sparkling water is less harmful than soda, drinking it frequently can still lead to enamel erosion. Encourage children to drink sparkling water in moderation and to drink it with a straw to reduce direct contact with teeth.
3. Choose a sparkling water brand with a higher pH level. Some sparkling water brands have a lower pH level than others. Look for a brand with a pH level closer to 7, which is neutral.
4. Encourage children to drink sparkling water with a meal. Consuming acidic beverages with food can help neutralize the acid and reduce the risk of enamel erosion.
5. Practice good oral hygiene. Encourage children to brush their teeth twice daily with fluoride toothpaste and floss daily. Regular dental check-ups can also help detect and prevent tooth decay.
Everything in Moderation
Parents still need to protect their children’s oral health, including limiting the amount of sparkling water they consume and encouraging them to drink plain water. Parents can help ensure their children have healthy teeth and gums by following these tips and practicing good oral hygiene.
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