Acidic Beverages: Flavored Water Could Be Destroying Your Teeth

Acidic Beverages: Flavored Water Could Be Destroying Your Teeth

Is Your Flavored Water Eating Away at Your Tooth Enamel?

While most flavored waters are slightly acidic, they typically have a pH level above 4, which is the threshold for potentially damaging effects on teeth. However, drinking large amounts of flavored water or consuming other highly acidic beverages could contribute to tooth erosion over time, especially if proper dental hygiene practices are not followed. As with most things, moderation is key to maintaining good dental health.

Many patients come in for their routine cleaning/check-up and are astonished they have a new cavity! When they tell me they have not changed anything with their homecare routine (and it’s a good routine), they are doing what they say.  I like to dig deeper into their nutritional choices. I always go over nutritional counseling with them to see if we can find any acidic food/drinks that may be causing a new cavity. Patients tend to say, “I don’t drink soda/energy drinks, or I rarely do.” However, soda/energy drinks are not the only culprits affecting your teeth! It can be the flavored water/teas you choose to drink instead of the soda….sorry but it’s the truth!

All you LaCroix/Waterloo addicts, hear me out. I am also talking to San Pellegrino, Hint, Spindrift, Sparkling Ice, and other sparkling water drinkers. Before you guzzle down a twelve-pack in a couple of days, you must know the facts. I see you at the grocery store loading up on cases of that stuff.

A beverage’s pH is the main issue due to its potential to erode teeth. Anything with a pH less than 4 is considered a threat to dental health. The lower the pH, the more acidic a drink is, and the more harmful it is to your teeth. Regular tap water typically has a pH between 6 and 8.

Beverages with a pH less than 4 are potentially damaging to the teeth.

Beverages with a pH below four are considered acidic and can potentially damage tooth enamel over time. Tooth enamel is the protective outer layer of the teeth, and when exposed to acids from food and drinks, it can become eroded and weakened. This can lead to tooth decay and other dental problems. Some examples of acidic beverages include soda, energy drinks, citrus juices, and certain types of flavored water. Drinking these beverages in moderation and practicing good oral hygiene habits help protect your teeth.

The concern with a pH level of less than 4 in the mouth is that it can cause what dental professionals call tooth erosion. Dental Erosion is the chemical erosive potential of tooth structure in the absence of bacteria when the environment is acidic. (pH < 4.0). Teeth erode in the pH range of 2.0 to 4.0.

This means the teeth’ enamel can be structurally damaged over time, making them hypersensitive to temperature and potentially more cavity-prone. If you have 3-4 acidic drinks throughout the day with a pH of 4.0 or less, that could cause your new CAVITY!

pH Levels

The pH of La Croix sparkling water varies by flavor, but it typically falls within the range of 3.0 to 4.0, which is considered mildly acidic. The exact pH level can depend on various factors, including the flavorings and additives used in the specific product.

Below are some common beverages patients tell me they drink, including soda, for comparison. Due to the acidity and pH level, I will break it into extremely erosive and erosive.

Extremely Erosive pH of 2.0-3.0

  1. pH of Coca-Cola is 2.37
  2. pH of Pepsi is 2.39
  3. pH of lemon juice is 2.4
  4. pH of Schweppes Tonic water is 2.54
  5. Ocean Spray Cranberry is 2.56
  6. Simply Lemonade is 2.61
  7. Lipton Green Tea With Citrus Diet is 2.92
  8. Snapple Peach Tea is 2.94
  9. V8 Splash Berry Blend is 2.94
  10. Nestea Iced Tea With Natural Lemon Flavor 2.94
  11. Powerade Zero Grape is 2.97 
  12. pH of Gatorade Lemon-Lime is 2.97

It’s important to note that the erosive potential of a drink depends on more than just its pH. Other factors, such as the sugar content and additives like citric acid, can also contribute to dental erosion.

Erosive is 3.0-3.9

Red Bull has a pH of approximately 3.3-3.5, within the erosive range. As a result, drinking Red Bull or other acidic beverages like it frequently and in large amounts can potentially cause dental erosion and other dental problems over time.

  1. Propel Berry is 3.01
  2. Dasani Strawberry is 3.03
  3. Vitamin Water Zero Acai-Blueberry-Pomegranate is 3.05
  4. Fresca (1 liter) is 3.08
  5. Crystal Light Green Tea Raspberry Mix 3.11
  6. Arizona Diet Green Tea þ Ginseng is 3.29
  7. Red Bull is 3.3-3.5
  8. Welch’s 100% Grape Juice 3.38
  9. Waterloo Lemon 3.3
  10. LaCroix Pamplemousse 3.33
  11. Monster Energy 3.48
  12. pH of apple juice is 3.57
  13. Hint Water pH 3.5 to 4.

(This information comes from A report published in the Journal of the American Dental Association)

The problem is when you combine carbonation AND flavors in drinks, you create an acidic environment for the teeth. Dental erosion from beverages is primarily caused by phosphoric acid and citric acid. Americans are consuming more acidic drinks, fruit juices, sports drinks, and carbonated beverages than ever. This increase is now thought to be the leading cause of dental erosion.

I’m not saying these drinks are bad choices for your overall health! They can potentially be detrimental to your teeth when consumed in excess!

Some drinks are in the tooth-safe zone (you can drink your plain sparkling water without worry). Carbonation (adding carbonic acid) lowers the pH to about 5. The problems start when you add flavors and citric acid (commonly used in bottled flavored drinks). Beverages with natural fruit/flavor essences (mostly citric and other fruit acids) can cause significant tooth erosion.

Commercial drinks pH values

Here are 30+ commercial drinks and their pH values, sorted from highest to lowest pH:

Drink pH Value
Evian Natural Spring Water 7.2-7.4
Fiji Natural Artesian Water 7.7-8.5
Gerolsteiner Mineral Water 7.8
Voss Artesian Water 7.6-8.2
Highland Spring Water 7.8-8.2
Zephyrhills Natural Spring Water 7.5-8.5
Penta Ultra-Purified Water 7.5-8.0
Essentia Water 9.5-9.9
Aqua Hydrate Purified Water 9.5
Icelandic Glacial Water 8.4-8.8
Nestle Pure Life Water 6.8-7.4
Poland Spring Water 6.5-8.0
Smartwater 6.0-7.0
Hint Water 5.5-7.0
Perrier Sparkling Water  5.5
Dasani Water 4.5-5.0
Sprite 3.3
7-Up 3.2-3.7
Coca-Cola 2.5-2.9
Red Bull Energy Drink 3.3
Spindrift Sparkling Water 3.0
Monster Energy 2.7
Pepsi-Cola 2.5-2.7
Gatorade Citrus Swish 2.9
Mountain Dew 3.0
Snapple Lemon Tea 2.5-3.0
Arizona Iced Tea 2.5-3.0
Minute Maid Orange Juice 3.3-4.2
Gatorade Thirst Quencher 2.9
Vitamin Water 3.4
Naked Juice Green Machine 3.3-4.1
Ocean Spray Cranberry Juice 2.3-2.5
Tropicana Orange Juice 3.3-4.2
Lipton Brisk Iced Tea 2.8-3.0
Monster Energy Drink 2.7

Please note that the pH values listed may vary depending on the production process, flavorings, and additives used in the drinks. This table is not an exhaustive list; other factors, such as sugar content and acidity, can also affect the potential impact of these drinks on dental health. It’s always best to consult with a dental professional regarding the effects of specific beverages on your teeth.

Tooth-Safe Zone

Drinks closer to neutral pH, around 7.0, are generally considered safer for teeth than acidic drinks. Water, milk, and most herbal teas are drinks with a pH closer to neutral. Drinking water, in particular, is one of the best options for maintaining good oral health because it helps rinse away food particles and bacteria, which can cause tooth decay and gum disease. Additionally, fluoride in tap water can help strengthen teeth and prevent decay.

  1. S. Pellegrino Sparkling Natural Mineral Water is 4.96
  2. Unsweetened Black Tea 4.9
  3. Starbucks Medium Roast is 5.11
  4. Canada Dry Club Soda 5.2
  5. Perrier carbonated mineral water is 5.25
  6. Milk 6.6-6.8
  7. Tap water is 6-8

Flavored water is still way better to drink than soda, which is more erosive and contains unhealthy amounts of sugar and empty calories. All sparkling waters are less acidic than traditional soft drinks and juices, with the added benefit of no sugar, sweeteners, coloring, or artificial ingredients. I’m not saying you need to take an all-or-nothing approach; instead, minimize the amount you consume so you are not damaging your teeth.

Helpful Tips

Go for regular water or plain carbonated water for your main hydration! Save the flavored stuff for an occasional treat! You also could have it with a meal or snack. Drink it fast vs. sipping it slowly throughout the day! Oh, and don’t swish with it. (People sometimes do this to get food or taste out of their mouth.) You could even use a straw to help lessen the damage to the teeth.

I hope this helps you understand where your next cavity/sensitivity/erosion could come from. Ask your Dental Hygienist or Dentist the next time you get a new cavity to review your nutritional counseling.

Hoping to start the conversation!


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