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Sparkling water and carbonic acid

  1. Feb 1, 2016 #1
    I drink 2-3 sparkling waters a day (La Croix). I look at the nutrition back and it contains nothing but carbonated water and natural flavors. So I think it's completely harmless. Now I am learning this "carbonated water" may be more than I think. Apparently it contains carbonic acid which can be harmful to teeth. I think it's seriously misleading that they don't have to put carbonic acid on the label.

    The Sad Truth About Seltzer
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 1, 2016 #2
    It should be fine, drinking it cold in away, CO2 stays as is and does not mingle with water to form Carbonic Acid. You could differentiate the taste of none chilled soda with cold ones. When it taste sour(when its hot-at ambient temp.), it may affect your teeth and worsen stomach acidity.

    In Chemistry, rate of reaction depends on temperature. For CO2+H2O↔H2CO3, is endothermic reaction. The reverse process would be exothermic.
  4. Feb 4, 2016 #3


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    Gold Member

    Here is a paper examining this:
    They use flavored sparkling water with a ph of 3.0. This is closer to what soda would be which contains other acids.

    This study:
    shows that normal unflavored seltzer water has about 1% of the tooth eroding ability of soda.

    This is less acidic than most of the foods that we eat on an everyday basis. It would be impossible to make plain carbonic acid at a ph of 3.0 in human drinkable conditions so I wouldn't worry about causing an acid stomach either.

    Also the solubility of CO2 in water is greater at lower temperatures so any increased sour taste at warmer temperatures is likely due to the fact that materials at a warmer temperature have more flavor than at a colder temperature.

  5. Feb 4, 2016 #4
    Soda's Coke etc. do not carry warning labels but are now considered significant health risks because of the sugar content. For whatever reason perhaps the inclusion of phosphoric or citric acids that are added, some Soda are estimated to be 100 times more corrosive to teeth than carbonated water.

    You can find a list of beverages and their pH here.
  6. Feb 4, 2016 #5
    Thanks but, this topic is about sparkling water
  7. Feb 5, 2016 #6


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    Staff: Mentor

    H2O + CO2 = carbonated water = dilute carbonic acid

    Are you saying it's misleading to use the less alarming name on the product label? Maybe, though it's probably better understood by most people.

    And it certainly avoids any potential confusion with stinky carbolic acid!
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