Seltzer, a.k.a the carbonated water of the gods, is suddenly trendy again, but it may not be as good for you as everyone thinks. According to the Atlantic, the non-sugary sparkling water—made popular by brands like Perrier and La Croix—can still wear away at tooth enamel thanks to the carbonic acid it contains. (This is the acid that makes the drink bubbly.) Even worse for your teeth are flavored seltzers.

However, seltzers are still notably better and less harsh on your teeth than sodas. The carbonic acid is “relatively weak,” and thus seltzers typically have a more neutral pH level than sodas. Plain bottled water has a pH of 7, which is neutral, while Perrier has a pH of 5.5. Coca-Cola on the other hand has a pH level of 2.5, which is incredibly acidic.

Unfortunately, flavored seltzers, which tend to be flavored with “citric or other acids” have a more acidic pH level. A study from 2007 found that flavored sparkling waters are as corrosive to human teeth as orange juice if exposed to the drink for 30 minutes. The study concluded that “it would be inappropriate to consider these flavored sparkling waters as a healthy dental alternative to other acidic drinks.”

Still, at the end of the day, seltzer—even this pumpkin pie-flavored atrocity—is better for your body than soda, especially when it comes down to calories and cavities. And per Andrew Swiatowicz, a dentist in Delaware, if you are an “average, healthy person, carbonated, sugar-free beverages are not going to be a main cavity-causing factor.” So go on, get yourself a case of La Croix (and a Soul Cycle membership). 

[via The Atlantic]