You’re at the grocery store trying to find healthy drinks for your family. You’ve been trying to cut down on soda and sugary fruit juices that are bad for the teeth, but you’re not sure what to get instead. You come across some bottles of flavored water; that sounds healthier, right? Maybe not. Flavored water might sound harmless, but as your dentist in Plainview can tell you, they could have unintended consequences for your pearly whites.
What Effect Does Flavored Water Have on the Teeth?
A study published in the International Journal of Environment and Health found that flavored mineral water wears down the teeth over time. This is because the flavoring lowers the pH balance of the beverage. pH is a measurement that determines whether a liquid is acidic (low pH) or basic (high pH). Pure water is neutral – right in the middle of the scale – so it only takes a small change for it to become acidic. As a result, constantly drinking flavored water can weaken the enamel.
The good news is that the flavoring isn’t nearly as acidic as other beverages. Most sodas, for example, are much, much worse for your teeth. That said, flavored water can still potentially be harmful to your pearly whites.
Do I Need to Avoid Flavored Water Altogether?
Like with many foods and beverages, it’s perfectly okay to enjoy flavored water once in a while as long as it’s in moderation. There’s not really a defined amount to avoid drinking, but in general, the important thing is to minimize the amount of time your teeth stay in contact with an acidic substance.
Don’t hold or swish the water around in your mouth; it’s better to swallow it immediately. Drinking through a straw might help, although there’s no definitive evidence that it’s significantly safer for the teeth.
What About Sparkling Water?
Some flavored waters are carbonated, but despite what you might think, this doesn’t have a significant effect on the acidity of the water; laboratory studies find that still and sparkling waters both have low erosive potential. It’s the flavoring that you need to worry about.
So What’s the Best Alternative?
All in all, when it comes to protecting your teeth, plain fluoridated water is often the best beverage available. The fluoride mixes with your saliva to strengthen the enamel, making it stronger and more resistant to decay. Rinsing with water is also a great way to restore the pH balance of your mouth after indulging in flavored water or another acidic drink.
Your diet can have a huge impact on your smile. Talk with your dentist about the foods and drinks you consume most often and see if there are any lifestyle improvements you can be making. Remember, a flavored drink once in a while is okay, but too much could come back to haunt you!
About the Practice
The dentists at Meadowbrook Dentistry in Plainview want to help people around the world lead healthier, happier lives, which is why they participate in several mission trips each year to places like Haiti and the Dominican Republic. They’re happy to educate patients on ways they can improve their oral health. If you’re worried about too many acidic drinks affecting your enamel, make an appointment by visiting their website or by calling (516) 346-5655.