Dental Health Topics

Are There Health Risks Associated with Seltzer Water?

As if Paris didn’t have enough going for it (baguettes, the Eiffel tower, longer lunch breaks), it also has…wait for it…free seltzer water flowing from public water fountains! For those of us obsessed with this bubbly water, an endless supply of it would be a dream come true.

Now, we know sugary soda is terrible for teeth, beer isn’t exactly a health drink, and cocktails can contribute to dry mouth and other unwanted health problems. But plain, old seltzer water? Is there any harm in it? Let’s look at the facts.

Is Seltzer Water Bad for Your Teeth?

Possibly. Here’s why: seltzer water is slightly acidic. When you add carbon dioxide to water (that’s what those fizzy bubbles are), some of the carbon dioxide reacts with water molecules to create carbonic acid. This is what gives seltzer water a slightly tangy flavor.

Now, acid is the real enemy of our teeth. Acid wears away tooth enamel and creates cavities. (Pure water has a neutral pH, meaning it’s not acidic, so drinking it is perfectly fine for our teeth and necessary for our health.)

There aren’t a ton of studies that have evaluated seltzer water’s effect on teeth in an actual human mouth. Several studies have shown some potential for erosion, but scientists conducted these studies on teeth in a test tube.

The takeaway: seltzer water is much better for your teeth than soda, but not as harmless as plain water. That said, even though plain seltzer water is slightly acidic, it likely won’t harm your teeth too much. If, however, your sparkling beverage contains added flavors, sugars, fruit juice, or citric acid, then you are sipping something that is “potentially erosive.”

Other Health Risks Associated with Seltzer Water?

Some reports claim that the carbonation in seltzer water affects gut health and bone density. Other studies find some evidence suggesting seltzer water improves symptoms of indigestion; but for those with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), drinking carbonated beverages could worsen symptoms.

As for bone health, it appears cola could affect bone density, but there isn’t much evidence that seltzer water does.

Bottom Line

Plain, still water is your best bet — it hydrates you and does not cause any harm to your teeth. That said, seltzer water in itself doesn’t appear to harm our health in great ways. And it’s a great alternative to soda if you’re trying to break a soda addiction.

Drink on, fizzy friends!