Bad News For Seltzer Lovers: It’s Not As Healthy As You Think

Drinking seltzer is not the same as drinking water.

In an article that devastated HuffPost’s bubbly water enthusiasts, The Atlantic reported Monday that even unflavored carbonated water can have damaging effects on oral health.

Fizzy water’s only mainstay ingredient besides water is carbonic acid, which gives the beverage its bubbles but can weaken tooth enamel over time.

The good news? Sparkling water is still a better choice than both diet and regular flavored sodas, which are associated with obesity and diabetes.

Even for enamel erosion, plain soda water is still a better choice than “real” soda. As The Atlantic reported, the lower a liquid’s pH level — an indicator of its acidic content — the more damaging it can be:

[...Carbonic acid is] 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.

The flavors are where things turn especially sour. A study from the University of Birmingham and Birmingham Dental Hospital concluded that flavored soda waters are nearly just as bad for teeth as soda. The pH of a lime-flavored seltzer, for example, may cause close to the same amount of damage to your teeth as a cola. Flavored soda waters pH levels range from 2.74 to 3.34, while Coca Cola has a pH level of around 2.525.

(At the risk of sounding dramatic, for reference, battery acid has a pH of 1.0. )

Damien Walmsley, a professor of dentistry at the University of Birmingham, told The Atlantic that seltzer isn’t that much of a risk for the average —> Read More