Sip smart: Strategies to safeguard your smile

Dental hygienist in purple scrubs takes x-rays of patient's teeth

The beverages you consume can affect your teeth. Some drinks bathe your teeth in acids that your saliva struggles to neutralize fast enough, leaving your teeth vulnerable to damage.

pH measures the acidity or alkalinity of a substance on a scale from 0 to 14, with 7 being neutral. The lower the pH, the more acidic the substance. Water is supposed to be neutral with a pH of 7, but not all waters are created equal. 

Common water pH values

Tap water typically has a pH close to 8, while bottled waters vary depending on the brand:

  • Highly acidic: Propel flavored water (3.7 pH)
  • Mildly acidic: Dasani (5.6 pH), Aquafina (5.9 pH), Fiji (6.6 pH)
  • Neutral: Smartwater (6.97 pH), Evian (7.53 pH)
  • Basic: which are protective in nature for the teeth: (Essentia = 9.5)

Damage caused by acidic beverages

Cavities, which are tiny openings or holes in the teeth, can develop due to prolonged exposure to acidity. Also, acid erosion, the gradual wearing off of the enamel surface, can lead to increased sensitivity and tooth decay.

Protecting against acidic beverage damage

Thankfully, there are steps you can take to mitigate the harm caused by acidic beverages:

  • Limit exposure: Try to consume acidic beverages within a 20-minute timeframe to minimize the duration of acid exposure. Avoid sipping on them throughout the day.
  • Choose wisely: Opt for less acidic alternatives whenever possible. Consider the pH levels of different bottled waters before making your selection.
  • Stimulate saliva flow: After consuming acidic beverages, chew sugar-free gum for five to 10 minutes to stimulate saliva flow, which helps bring the pH in your mouth back to neutral.

Whether you need preventive services or treatment for existing dental issues, the University Health Center Dental Clinic is here to help you achieve a healthy, confident smile. Don't wait until problems arise – schedule your appointment today and start prioritizing your dental health. Call 402.472.7495 to schedule or learn more about our services at