If your key to staying happy and hydrated is throwing back seltzer or carbonated water at your desk all day long (or if your go-to happy hour order is “a vodka seltzer with lime, please”), you may want to start mixing it up.
Turns out, the Perrier and Pellegrino we’ve all been guzzling isn’t doing our teeth any favors. According to The Atlantic, even unflavored fizzy water (yes, you with the SodaStream over there) contains carbonic acid, which can gradually wear away tooth enamel.
But before you dump those cans of LaCroix in the trash, there’s good news: The acid in seltzer, sparkling water, and mineral water is generally pretty weak (unless it’s flavored with citric or other acids), and has a more neutral pH value than soft drinks and colas. It’s the added flavorings that’ll get you—and that’ll start to wreak havoc on tooth enamel.
“My advice is to keep acidic drinks to mealtimes, and if you have to sip drinks between meals, then plain water is the safest,” Damien Walmsley, a professor of dentistry at the University of Birmingham in England, told The Atlantic.
For extra protection against enamel, he suggests you dilute carbonated water with regular water or swish your mouth with regular water after drinking your favorite bubbly beverage. And as long as you’re alternating between seltzer and regular water each day—and keeping the sugary soft drinks far away (seriously, it’s time to ditch the Diet Coke)—you’ll keep your smile sparkling. —Alison Feller