Is Seltzer Water Bad for Your Teeth?

Sometimes yes. Sometimes no. That seems to be the conclusion of various scientific bodies that have studied whether bubbly H2O can cause cavities or erode tooth enamel.

What’s the cause for concern in the first place?

Seltzer and soda water contain carbonic acid. That’s a mild acid that can eat away tooth enamel if it stays in your mouth long enough. When it’s combined with sugar or with citrusy-based flavor—like lemon, lime or orange juice—the liquid can become even more corrosive.

Without flavorings, seltzers tend to have more neutral pH values (the measure of their acidity) 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 lower the number, the more acidic the liquid is).

“There is a theoretical risk of tooth erosion, but the drinks would have to be consumed over a long period of time,” Damien Walmsley, a professor of dentistry at the University of Birmingham in England, told reporter Olga Kazhan of the Atlantic.

Sugar and sweetened flavorings seem to be the bigger culprit, since they can lower the pH even more. This makes them even harsher on tooth enamel.  In this 2007 study, researchers exposed human teeth to flavored sparkling waters for 30 minutes. The waters were  just about as corrosive as orange juice. “It would be inappropriate to consider these flavored sparkling waters as a healthy dental alternative to other acidic drinks,” that study concluded.

Most people just drink and swallow. So although the impact of sparkling water on teeth can accumulate, it’s not like drinking soda pop. According to many studies, soda can be so acidic that it can wreak havoc on your smile in relatively short order. In fact, “many popular diet and sugared sodas are nearly as corrosive to dental enamel as battery acid,” reports

Still, it seems wise to take a few precautions if you love to drink seltzer and soda water.

1) Don’t use citrus juice for flavor. Or if you must, keep it to a minimum, to avoid increasing the acidity of the water.

2) Drink with a straw so the water is mostly in the back of your mouth rather than swishing around your teeth. Just make sure to use some kind of reusable straw, like these stainless steel straws, to avoid creating a lot of plastic waste.

3) Rinse out your mouth with flat water after drinking seltzer water. Just a quick rinse will help.

4) ”Keep acidic drinks to meal times,” recommends dentistry professor Damien Walmsley. “If you have to sip drinks between meals, then plain water is the safest.”

5) Skip both commercially flavored sparkling waters and soda pop which usually contains much more sugar than seltzer and is far more acidic.

6) Make your own bubbly water at home. You can find several spritzers available online and at hardware and home goods stores. Use them to infuse your water with the minimum amount of bubbles that you’ll still find refreshing – and that will give your teeth a break.


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Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallus2 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

Muff-Anne York-Haley

I've used the Soda Stream to make sparkling water but it broke within a year!

Jim Ven
Jim Ven3 years ago

thanks for the article.

Joe V.
Joe Vala3 years ago

I say make the choice regarding food or drink yourself. If in doubt ask the advice of your dentist or physician..

Read more:

Marie W.
Marie W3 years ago

Better than soda.

H M.
H M3 years ago

But is seltzer water bad for our pants if we do a little song and dance?

Ruth S.
Ruth S3 years ago


Aba Comms
Aba Comms3 years ago

Characterizing beverages as a unique cause of oral health issues is overly simplistic. Oral health is determined by a variety of factors, including types of foods consumed, the length of time foods are retained in the mouth and the level of oral hygiene. In fact, science tells us that individual susceptibility to both dental caries and erosion varies depending on a person’s behavior, lifestyle, diet and genetic make-up.

Bottom line: beverages can be a part of a balanced diet, and there are steps people can take to prevent and mitigate oral health issues, such as maintaining good oral hygiene habits and making routine dental visits.

Lolly D.
Lolly D3 years ago

Anything acidic can potentially cause problems... does that mean we should give up all citrus, etc? Of course not. If you like bubbles in your drink, plain or flavored seltzer with no sweetener (sugar or artificial) is certainly a better choice than soda pop!

Angela K.
Angela K3 years ago

Thank you