Sparkling Water's Effects on Your Teeth
Although sparkling water doesn't contain sugar, it is carbonated. It's the carbonation in the seltzer or sparkling water that has some people worried.
A few studies have been performed examining the acidity of various drinks, including sparkling water. One, published in the Journal of the American Dental Association, measured the pH of nearly 400 beverages. The drinks included a mix of sweetened sodas, sports drinks, juices, teas and sparkling waters.
The scientists performing the study ranked the erosiveness of the drinks based on their pH level. Drinks with a pH under 3.0 were labeled as "extremely erosive," drinks with a pH between 3.0 and 3.99 were "erosive" and drinks with a pH above 4.0 were "minimally erosive." U.S. News & World Report notes that a majority of sports drinks were rated as "extremely erosive," while certain sparkling waters ranked as "minimally erosive."
Researcher Ada McVean at McGill University conducted a similar study. Instead of testing a wide range of beverages, she tested the pH of nine different brands of sparkling water. She tested the drinks at refrigerator temperature and room temperature, as well as in carbonated form and decarbonated form. In all of her tests, the waters had a pH above 4.0. The pH tended to rise when the waters were at room temperature and when they were decarbonated, suggesting that sparkling water is more erosive in the form in which you're most likely to drink it (cold and bubbly).
So, is sparkling water bad for your teeth? It's much less erosive than other beverages. Perhaps most importantly, as the ADA points out, it has a similar effect on your teeth's enamel as regular, non-carbonated water. To keep your teeth as healthy as possible, the ADA recommends swapping sugary beverages for sparkling water, but not replacing regular, fluoridated water with sparkling water.