I should have known that when I discovered the beauty and wonder of La Croix that it was too good to be true. A bubbly water sensation that had hints of fruits without any calories? It has become my morning, noon, and night pick-me up. From the 1980’s-esque packaging and seemingly-endless flavors, I can’t keep enough cases of La Croix around. Seriously, it’s crazy.
I’m not the only one sold on the sparkling water craze either. Smartwater, which is made by Coca-Cola Company, released a new line of sparking water this year. With consumers shifting to healthier lifestyles and soda sales declining, it's no wonder soda companies are venturing into the sparkling water market. In fact, sales of fizzy soda alternatives like La Croix have doubled over the past five years.
However, a recent article in The Atlantic revealed that sparkling waters are not the key to healthy water intake we had all hoped they would be. Turns out, one of the downfalls of soda is also a pitfall of sparkling water—carbonic acid.
The old adage that soda will rot your truth may very well still be true as carbonic acid can over time wear down the enamel on your teeth. With over 35 years of experience, Dr. Jerry W. Price D.D.S., a graduate of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, says that the thing of concern is a drink's pH balance. Price says that water, which is a neutral, has a PH balance of 7, and drinks that are more acidic will fall below 7. Perrier, for example, is a 6. Price says that if you are already maintaining a healthy oral routine, you’re less likely to see severe sparkling water side effects, but the day-after-day damage can take their toll.
“Enamel is important for two reasons,” Price says. “One, it seals the tooth off to protect from decay, and two, it insulates the tooth to protect it from hot and cold temperatures.”
The real concern with consuming acidic drinks is that the liquid stays in your mouth for too long. If you are simply drinking and not swishing sparkling water, Price says there will be minimum damage to your teeth. He notes that saliva is also a great neutralizer for acids that can harm enamel.
Price recommends combating tooth erosion by regularly brushing with a fluoridated toothpaste, such as Arm and Hammer’s Dental Care Advance Cleaning Daily Fluoride Toothpaste with Baking Soda and then using a fluoride rinse like ACT. Also, drinking and rinsing with water after eating will protect the enamel.
Now that I know better, I'll be adopting the strange habits of my coffee-sipping-through-a-straw friends. I’ll be picking up a brand new pack of straws and sticking to my La Croix.