Carbonated water is a refreshing beverage and a good alternative to sugary soft drinks.
However, concerns have been raised that it may be bad for your health.
This article takes a detailed look at the health effects of carbonated water.
Carbonated water is water that has been infused with carbon dioxide gas under pressure.
This produces a bubbly drink that’s also known as sparkling water, club soda, soda water, seltzer water and fizzy water.
With the exception of seltzer water, carbonated waters usually have salt added to improve the taste. Sometimes small amounts of other minerals are included.
Natural sparkling mineral waters, such as Perrier and San Pellegrino, are different.
These waters are captured from a mineral spring and tend to contain minerals and sulfur compounds. These waters are often carbonated as well.
Tonic water is a form of carbonated water that contains a bitter compound called quinine, along with sugar or high-fructose corn syrup.
SUMMARYCarbonated water combines water with carbon dioxide under pressure. Sodium and other minerals are often added.
Carbon dioxide and water react chemically to produce carbonic acid, a weak acid that’s been shown to stimulate the same nerve receptors in your mouth as mustard.
The pH of carbonated water is 3–4, which means it’s slightly acidic.
However, drinking an acidic beverage like carbonated water does not make your body more acidic.
Your kidneys and lungs remove excess carbon dioxide. This keeps your blood at a slightly alkaline pH of 7.35–7.45 regardless of what you eat or drink.
SUMMARYCarbonated water is acidic, but your body should maintain a stable, slightly alkaline pH no matter what you consume.
One of the biggest concerns about sparkling water is its effect on teeth since your enamel is directly exposed to acid.
There is very little research on this topic, but one study found that sparkling mineral water damaged enamel only slightly more than still water. Furthermore, mineral water was 100 times less damaging than a sugary soft drink (3).
In one study, carbonated beverages showed strong potential to destroy enamel — but only if they contained sugar.
In fact, a non-carbonated sweet beverage (Gatorade) was more harmful than a carbonated sugar-free drink (Diet Coke) (4).
Another study placed samples of tooth enamel in various beverages for up to 24 hours. The sugar-sweetened carbonated and non-carbonated beverages resulted in significantly greater enamel loss than their diet counterparts (5).
However, plain sparkling water appears to pose little risk to dental health. It’s only the sugary types that are harmful (7).
If you’re concerned about dental health, try drinking sparkling water with a meal or rinsing your mouth with plain water after drinking it.
SUMMARYSugar-sweetened carbonated beverages can erode tooth enamel, but plain carbonated water appears relatively harmless.