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Hey, Sparkling-Water Addicts — Dentists Are Saying Seltzer’s Actually Bad For Your Teeth

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There are people out there who do not drink soda (diet or otherwise), preferring to keep it healthy by downing glass after glass of zero-calorie sparkling water. But is sparkling water really that much better for you than soda? Put down your glass of Perrier, because if you want them bubbles you’re going to have to face an awful truth: Still waters don’t just run deeper, they’re safer for you, too.

This devastating news comes to us courtesy of Olga Khazan at The Atlantic. Khazan, a confirmed bubbles addict (who recently downed an entire 12-pack of Coconut-flavored La Croix sparkling water in less than a day) asked dentists to tell her the brutal truth about whether sparkling water is bad for your teeth. The dentists — killjoys second only to food-poisoning experts — were only too happy to provide some real talk to The Atlantic:

Even when it’s unflavored, fizzy water contains an acid—carbonic acid—that gives it its bubbles. That acidity can gradually wear away tooth enamel.

The good news is, it’s a relatively weak acid. Unless they’re flavored with citric or other acids, seltzers tend to have more neutral pH values than soft drinks like Coke. While bottled flat water has a pH of about 7 — or totally neutral — that of Perrier is about 5.5.

That’s not too bad, but oh ho ho ho, what’s this? Once you start flavoring your fizzy water it actually becomes much worse for you. So drinking a glass of unflavored club soda is okay if you’re not overdoing it, but don’t kid yourself about how much better it is than soda:

The flavorings, though, can bring the pH down, making the beverages even harsher on tooth enamel. One 2007 study in which researchers exposed human teeth to flavored sparkling waters for 30 minutes found the waters to be roughly as corrosive as orange juice. “It would be inappropriate to consider these flavored sparkling waters as a healthy dental alternative to other acidic drinks,” the study concluded.

Here’s some even more demoralizing news: One expert Khazan spoke to said sparkling water, in the long run, is safer than soda but should still be only consumed during meals. What if you want to have some delicious Perrier between meals? Damien Walmsley, a professor of dentistry at the University of Birmingham Khazan spoke to, says you can either stick to plain old water, dilute carbonated beverages with plain old water (worse), or swish with plain old water after every time you take a sip of Pellegrino, a suggestion so inhumane it actually violates the Geneva Conventions.

As for your old pal Coke? Well it’s not as bad as meth, but it’s close. In short: DRINK. MORE. WATER.

(Via The Atlantic)

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