It's considered the virtuous option compared to other fizzy drinks and often more refreshing than bog standard still water.
But sparkling water is not as harmless as most of us think – and is actually more acidic than wine and vinegar, a dentist has warned.
'Most people have no idea that fizzy water is extremely acidic, it's pH3 on the acidity scale' says Adam Stone, a London based dentist.
'The bubbles erode your tooth enamel – and over time this causes painful, yellow cracked teeth.'
With pH7 being neutral, the figures make alarming reading:
Carbonated drinks (e.g. sparkling water or diet cola) pH 3.0
Juices & smoothies (e.g. apple juice) pH 3.4
Wine pH 3.6
Salad dressing (e.g. vinegar) pH 3.6
Stone claims he has seen a three-fold rise in people suffering from acid damage in the last 10 years.
'There are various causes: some people grind their teeth together, often due to stressful jobs. This wears away the enamel, exposing the underneath layer and causing pain.'
But the main culprit is our culture of constant sipping and snacking throughout the day, he says.
'Everywhere you go people are sipping smoothies, coffee, juices and fizzy water. These are all highly acidic and attack your teeth. Every time you consume something like this it takes your tooth enamel three hours to recover from it.'
When you eat something sticky or sugary, little acid attacks erupt in your mouth that strips your enamel of vital minerals. After the attacks, saliva swishes around your mouth, cleaning off debris and redepositing those lost minerals.
'But if you're sipping all day, your teeth never get a chance and are under a constant acid attack,' says Mr Stone. 'This can cause the protective enamel to erode, causing pain and sensitivity. It can also lead to decay.'
'Rather than sipping constantly, drink a glass in one go. Try to use a straw to direct the water down your throat rather than towards your teeth.'
How To Prevent Enamel Erosion
- Give your teeth a 3-4-hour break between meals.
- Avoid frequent snacks.
- Finish your meal with a crunchy vegetable (carrot, stalk of celery, cauliflower, piece of bell pepper, sweet pepper, leaf of cabbage, a small stick of cut up swede, cucumber) to help clean the teeth and stimulate saliva.
- Chew some sugar-free chewing gum for 10 minutes.
- When you have finished brushing, spit out excess toothpaste but do not rinse with water! If you rinse with water, you will get rid of the fluoride. If you absolutely want to rinse your teeth after brushing, use a fluoride mouthwash.