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Is Sparkling Water Healthy For You?
February 27, 2024|Read Time - 4 minutes
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Medically reviewed by

Learn how carbonated water affects hydration, digestive health and dental health.

Over the past decade, sparkling water - also known as carbonated water or seltzer water - has bubbled up to the top of grocery lists as a refreshing, healthier alternative to soft drinks and sodas.

In fact, data shows that while sugary drink consumption has decreased since 2000, seltzer water was nearly a $30 billion industry as of 2023. It’s not hard to see why. Seltzers are typically calorie-free and sugar-free, and there are dozens of brands and flavors to choose from.

But the growing popularity of sparkling water has also raised questions about its impacts on dental health and digestive health. How much seltzer water is too much seltzer water? Is it just as hydrating as its ordinary counterpart, tap water? And how does carbonated water affect your teeth and stomach?

Read on to learn more about sparkling water’s health benefits, potential risks, and whether it holds up as a hydrating choice for your daily consumption.

What is Sparkling Water?

Let’s get back to basics: what exactly is sparkling water? Sparkling water, also known as seltzer, carbonated water, or soda water, is water infused with carbon dioxide gas under pressure. The carbon dioxide bubbles are what create that distinctive fizz and bubbliness.

Unlike soft drinks or colas, plain sparkling water is typically calorie-free. It also generally does not contain added sugar, artificial sweeteners or high-fructose corn syrup. Some seltzers also have natural flavors for a hint of taste without the sugar load.

The Benefits of Sparkling Water

Sparkling water isn’t just tasty and refreshing - it also has several health benefits! Here are some advantages of drinking carbonated water:

Hydration and Health Benefits

One of the primary advantages of sparkling water is its ability to hydrate the body just as effectively as still water. You read that right: it’s just as hydrating as regular old tap water. In other words, it's a refreshing option for those who prefer a little fizz in their drinking water.

Besides hydration, certain types of sparkling mineral water contain beneficial minerals for bone health. Nutrients like magnesium, calcium, and potassium can actually help reduce bone stiffness and calcium loss. In other words, the notion that sparkling water can cause bone density loss is a myth. However, studies show that darker colas (or drinks with phosphoric acid) can contribute to bone density loss. All the more reason to avoid soda!

Weight Management and Digestive Aid

If you’re looking to manage their weight, sparkling water can be a valuable ally. The absence of calories and sugars makes it an excellent choice for hydration without contributing to overconsumption of added sugar.

Why is this important? Because research suggests that diets high in added sugar promote obesity, and most sodas are high in added sugar. For instance, a single 12-ounce Coke has over 9 teaspoons of sugar. That’s almost the entire recommended daily amount of sugar!

Furthermore, studies have found that sparkling water may induce satiety and gastric motility. In other words, the carbonation can help make you feel full and aid in digestion. This may provide relief from indigestion, constipation, and food cravings.

The Risks of Sparkling Water

Despite its benefits, sparkling water isn't totally free from drawbacks. Here are several reasons why it’s wise to consume seltzer water in moderation:

Dental Health Concerns

The carbonation process creates carbonic acid. This acid can potentially affect tooth enamel over time. A 2022 study that analyzed the pH (acidity) levels of bottled water found that the pH of several tested waters was below the safe level for teeth. Still, further research is needed on the subject. This is because pH can be affected by the brand of water, the amount of water consumed and even the manufacturing process.

It is worth noting that carbonated water still poses a much lower risk to dental health compared to other beverages like colas and drinks with citric acid and added sugars.

For those concerned about dental health, regular dental check-ups and online dental consultations can also be helpful. One major benefit of online dentistry is that it can provide you with a real-time diagnosis and treatment for mild-to-moderate dental problems caused by enamel loss, like toothaches or tooth sensitivity.

Bloating and Acid Reflux

Unfortunately, sparkling water can sometimes cause bloating or burping. This is due to the carbon dioxide gas in sparkling water.

As a result, people with acid reflux or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) can be especially impacted by carbonated beverages. Feeling like carbonated beverages cause your acid reflux or IBS symptoms to flare up? It may be wise to limit your intake or stick to regular water.

Is Sparkling Water Good For You?

Sparkling water can be hydrating and healthy if consumed in moderation and without added sugars. However, if you have health concerns like tooth enamel erosion or acid reflux, you should drink it cautiously and consider personalized advice from a healthcare provider.

So how much seltzer water is too much? The best thing you can do is listen to your body. If you’re drinking several cans of seltzer every day and feel like you’re burpy, gassy or bloated, then you may be drinking too much. On the other hand, some people drink a glass or two a day and feel perfectly fine. The bottom line is that you should pay attention to your body’s cues.

How Sesame Can Help

Understanding the impact of your dietary choices on your dental and digestive health is crucial. For those with dental health concerns, Sesame offers same-day online dental consultations with top-rated providers at always-low prices. For reference, an online dentist appointment on Sesame costs between $70-$80. Depending on the location and your insurance coverage, an in-person appointment can cost between $100-$300.

Not sure if your seltzer water intake is causing bloating, gas or other digestive issues? Sesame also offers same-day, affordable online doctor visits. Connecting with a licensed healthcare provider can help you make informed decisions about your hydration choices and their effects on your overall health. Whether you're curious about the best types of sparkling water or need advice on preventing tooth decay or digestive concerns without giving up your favorite fizzy drinks, our experts are here to assist.


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Medical disclaimer

Sesame content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you have a medical concern, it is critical to seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions. If you are facing a medical emergency, call 911 or visit the nearest emergency room immediately.

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