Seltzer is Better Than Soft Drinks, But Still Not Great for You

By Aly Walansky |

© Jack Andersen / Getty Images

We know water is our healthiest beverage option, but sometimes it’s just so boring we opt for its cooler, fizzier sibling seltzer. It seems like the best of all worlds—carbonated and yet healthy, but does it have an evil side?

Yesterday, The Atlantic shared a report that our favorite fizzy water may be better for us than other beverage choices, but it’s not quite as deserving of its super-healthy reputation as we may believe.

Khazan interviewed a professor of dentistry, who explained that there was a "theoretical risk of tooth erosion" owing to carbonic acid, which can gradually wear away tooth enamel, but assured it was far less risky than regular soda and would require drinking a lot over a long period of time to see this damage.

So, we may be skipping our caffeine high and still ending up with damaged teeth anyway? We consulted a New York–area dentist to see if we should be worried. “Club soda is not as damaging to your teeth as sodas containing sugar. Although it is considered only a weak acid, the carbonic acid in seltzer could theoretically, over time, erode enamel. If you are in the mood for something fizzy and find yourself reaching for soda, I think it is important to remember that club soda without sugar is definitely better for your teeth and your overall health than a soda laden with sugar. If you are at a high risk for developing cavities or are concerned, it may be best to simply limit your consumption of club sodas/acidic beverages at meal times.” says Dr. Lauren Levi, DMD, clinical instructor of dentistry at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. “Of course, everything in moderation, this doesn't mean you should be swishing your mouth constantly with seltzer instead of water!”

But it turns out seltzer may be a potential issue for more than just our teeth. It can also have negative impact on our stomachs and even our bones. “Seltzer and carbonated drinks are a problem in people with acid reflux, gas or bloating because it exacerbates those symptoms. As for bones some believe that it can lower the calcium level in your bones,” says Dr. Nieca Goldberg, cardiologist, NYU Langone Medical Center, and medical director of the Joan H. Tisch Center for Women's Health.

Ultimately, moderation is key, but maybe we should break out water in its most natural form a bit more often.

Related: Soda Can Age You As Much As Smoking a Study Says 
America Has Its First Sin Tax on Soda in Berkeley 
We Must All Stop the French From Declaring Chocolate Dangerous