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Carbonated Water & Your Bones

The CBC recently did a “Marketplace Lab Test” showing that some drinks are more acidic than others, and could pose a hazard to oral health. Anyone who knows me knows that I often talk about the issues with carbonated drinks on not only teeth, but on *all* of your bones! So, I was happy to see the CBC spend some time exploring this issue, now, too.

Everything we eat and drink has a pH level; the lower the pH level, the higher the acidity. Food and drinks that are acidic can pose a risk to your teeth because they can weaken a tooth's enamel (the outer, protective layer of your teeth).

The Canadian Dental Association says people should be mindful of drinking some carbonated water drinks because "the higher acid levels significantly increase the risk of damage to tooth enamel and can increase the risk of erosion of the enamel and tooth decay."

Unlike regular water from your tap, which has a neutral pH of between six and seven, some flavoured and sparkling waters can be acidic. "When we have a pH below five, this can be a danger," said Dr. Walter Siqueira of the University of Saskatchewan's school of dentistry.

Previous studies have found some flavoured carbonated waters to have pH levels as low as three, just slightly better than Coca-Cola, which has been found to have a pH of just over two. For example, Bubly was considerably more acidic than the other two brands tested with a pH of 3.86, compared to LaCroix's 4.71 and Perrier's 5.46.

These low pH levels (high acidity) can also be unhealthy for your whole body, not just your teeth. You see, to counterbalance the acidity in the blood, calcium or magnesium are taken either from the blood or, if not available, the body draws calcium from the bone (weakening your bones).

In addition, the phosphoric acid (phosphate) used to enhance flavour in some carbonated beverages can interfere with calcium absorption and result in the further loss of calcium from bone, through your kidneys.

Lastly, the acidic nature of carbonated water and sodas can also cause issues for drinkers who are prone to acid reflux, can make IBS symptoms worse, and when the drinks have added sugars - can lead to increased risk of obesity.

My advice? Ditch these carbonated beverages, and consider drinking delicious, healthy, and pH balanced filtered tap water or herbal tea as a way to increase your daily fluid intake. (Yes, Mom!).


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