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Ask a Dentist: Can Sparkling Water Damage My Teeth?

Dr. Hartman and Dr. Morrow of Elite Dental in Clarendon address one of the rising topics of conversation in their office, eroding teeth and the impact of food and beverages on tooth breakdown. One surprising culprit — sparkling water!

Let’s back up a bit. Food and beverages have a pH value which indicates how damaging they can be to tooth structure. The pH scale ranges from 0-14 with a score of 7 being neutral, 0 – <7 as acidic and >7 – 14 as basic. In the dental world, we are most concerned with those in the acidic ranges.

An important factor to keep in mind is that as you move between whole numbers less than 7, the acidity multiplies by 10. For example, a pH of 6 is 10x more acidic than a pH of 7 and a pH of 5 is 100x more acidic than a pH of 7. The same holds true for the basic side of the scale.

Teeth have two main components that can be impacted by acidity. The first is enamel, the white outer portion of the tooth which is the hardest substance in the body. Enamel dissolves with a pH <5.5. Dentin is the softer tooth structure underneath enamel and on root surfaces, it dissolves with a pH of <6.5. When you start weakening that outer enamel, the teeth become more prone to cavities and fractures, can be more sensitive, and can appear more yellow.

Here’s a list of some common food and beverages with acidity ranked:

Neutral pH 7.0
Dentin dissolves below 6.5
Enamel dissolves below 5.5

  • Green tea: 7-10
  • Perrier Carbonated Mineral Water: 5.25
  • Black coffee: 5.0
  • Black tea: 4.5-5.5
  • Bud Light: 4.33
  • Apple Juice: 4.0
  • Carbonated waters: range 3-4, certain flavors will impact and lower the pH
  • Vitamin Water (Fruit Punch): 3.65
  • Red Bull: 3.37
  • Diet Coke: 3.28
  • Generic red wine: 3.28
  • Generic white wine: 3.17
  • Lemon tea: 3.0
  • Gatorade/Powerade/Propel: range 2.5-3.5
  • Kombucha: 2.5-3.5
  • Lemon: 2.29
  • Lime: 2.17

So what can you do? We do NOT recommend brushing your teeth right after drinking or eating things with acid. Your saliva is a natural buffer, and your teeth are weakest right after acid exposure. By brushing immediately, you are more likely to ‘brush’ away the tooth structure — wait 30 minutes before doing so. Rinsing with plain water is OK.

Enjoy these food and beverages in shorter time spans and more limited quantities. Sipping or grazing on acidic items (just like with sugar) increases the amount of time the tooth structure is exposed to a damaging environment and can cause more harm. Drinking the more acidic beverages with meals is best, and like everything, enjoy in moderation!

Dr. Hartman and Dr. Morrow practice at Elite Dental in Arlington and are currently accepting new patients. Call 703-988-6963, or email [email protected] to schedule an appointment.

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_”The Aachen exchange was an eye-opening experience where I was fully immersed in the life of a German student. I loved biking through the countryside to Belgium, having gelato and picnics in the town square, and hanging out with my German host student’s friends. My first time out of the country, the Aachen exchange taught me to keep an open mind, because you never know what could be a life changing experience.” – Kelly M._

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Learn about the new assessment of Arlington’s urban tree canopy and the many ecological and social benefits trees provide. Staff from the Green Infrastructure Center (GIC) will share study results and compare canopy cover for different areas of Arlington.The webinar will include assessments of ecosystem services such as stormwater mitigation, air quality, carbon uptake, and urban heat islands. For background on Arlington trees see the “Tree Benefits: Growing Arlington’s Urban Forest” presentation at http://www.gicinc.org/PDFs/Presentation_TreeBenefits_Arlington.pdf.

Please register in advance to assure your place at the webinar, https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/29543206508863839.

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The next meeting is on Tuesday, February 21,2023 at 7 pm. This meeting is open to the public and will be hybrid, in-person and virtually through Zoom. Part of the agenda will be a discussion and vote on a resolution “To Restore Public Confidence in Arlington County’s Governance”. For more information on ACCF and this meeting, go to https://www.civfed.org/.

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