Michael Hunter, MD on Medika Life

The Sparkling Truth: Health Benefits (and Harms) of Bubbles

What are the positive aspects of sparkling water, addressing its impact on hydration, digestion, dental health, and its potential role in reducing sugar intake?

SPARKLING WATER IS A REFRESHING BEVERAGE choice for many. Do you enjoy its effervescence and refreshing taste? One of our nurses recently asked about the upsides of the drink. Today’s essay explores the sparkling truth: the health benefits (and harms) of bubbles.

We will delve into the positive aspects of sparkling water, addressing its impact on hydration, digestion, dental health, and its potential role in reducing sugar intake.

I will also discuss the potential downsides of consuming a drink with bubbles. First, a quote:

Bubbles are round for the same reason that planets are spherical. The universe itself is like bubbles. — Tom Noddy

What is Sparkling Water?

I will begin with this: I don’t enjoy sparkling water very much. But it seems like so many around me love the stuff.

Some call it “seltzer water,” while others prefer “carbonated water.”

The beverage’s gas can be natural, or manufacturers may infuse it into still water. In some forms, sparkling water is a healthy alternative to soda.

Mineral water may have natural bubbles, minerals, and sulfur compounds from a mineral spring. Tonic water contains quinine and sugar or high-fructose corn syrup.

Other seltzers or sparkling waters add sugars or artificial sweeteners. It is important to read the nutrition label before purchasing.

Photo by Sam Cernik on Unsplash

Here are some of the sparkling water types you might consider:

  • Club soda
  • Mineral water
  • Seltzer water
  • Soda water
  • Tonic water

Benefit #1 — Staying Hydrated and Refreshed

One of the most fundamental aspects of good health is staying properly hydrated.

For me, plain water is an excellent choice for hydration. I drink about 15.5 cups (3.7 liters) of fluids daily.

On the other hand, the carbonation in sparkling water can make it more appealing to some, encouraging them to drink more water throughout the day.

We need proper hydration to maintain bodily functions; sparkling water can refresh you. Here are seven reasons why you should drink more water:

7 Reasons Why You Should Drink More Water

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Benefit #2 — Carbonation Can Be Thirst-Quenching

Additionally, some people find that the carbonation sensation in sparkling water makes it feel more satisfying and thirst-quenching. My nurse Melissa frequently reminds me of this advantage (over plain water).

This satisfaction can facilitate increased water consumption, which benefits overall health.

Not all sparkling waters are created equal; some may have added sugars or sodium, so reading the labels and choosing the healthiest options is essential.

Benefit #3 — Sparkling Water Can Aid Digestion

Digestive health is another area where sparkling water may offer some benefits.

The carbonation in sparkling water can create a sensation of fullness or bloating, which may help some individuals control their appetite or reduce overeating.

Photo by Brock Wegner on Unsplash

However, this effect can vary from person to person, and some of us might experience different satiating effects.

Furthermore, some people find sparkling water alleviates indigestion or mild stomach discomfort. The effervescence might help burp out excess gas and relieve feelings of fullness.

While it’s not a miracle cure for digestive issues, sparkling water can be a soothing choice for occasional discomfort.

Benefit #4 — Dental Health and Sugar Reduction

One of the most significant advantages of sparkling water, especially when compared to sugary sodas or fruit juices, is its minimal impact on dental health.

Sugary beverages can lead to tooth decay and erosion, but sparkling water does not contain the sugars that feed harmful bacteria in the mouth. This problem makes sparkling water far better for preserving your dental health.

Sparkling water can be a valuable tool for those looking to reduce their sugar intake.

Many crave the sweetness of sugary drinks, and sparkling water can provide a satisfying alternative.

Flavored sparkling waters, often naturally flavored and sugar-free, offer various options to cater to different tastes.

Benefit #5 — Carbonated Water May Help Swallowing

Some small studies showed carbonated water helps people clear their throats and swallow better.

Three million Americans have dysphagia or trouble swallowing.

Carbonated water could benefit some of those patients but consult your doctor first.

Downside #1— Sparkling Water and Your Teeth

With its fizzy bubbles and refreshing taste, sparkling water has become a healthier choice than sugary sodas.

However, it’s important to consider its downsides. Firstly, sparkling water can be harsh on tooth enamel due to its acidity, potentially leading to dental problems over time.

Photo by Jamie Street on Unsplash

A Korean study showed this:

Carbonated water negatively affects etched or sealed enamel, resulting in decreased microhardness and removal of the adhesive material.

Downside #2 — Sparkling Water and Hidden Sweeteners

If you don’t enjoy drinking plain water, sparkling water can be a good alternative to juices and sugary.

The healthiest type of sparkling water is unsweetened and unflavored.

Be careful: Some sweetened sparkling waters and seltzers can add unwanted sugar to your diet.

Sparkling waters high in sugar may cause tooth decay. But plain sparkling water has minimal effects on your teeth, especially when drinking soda.

You can prevent tooth decay by maintaining good oral hygiene and alternating sparkling water with plain water to cleanse your enamel.

Downside #3 — Sparkling Water and Bloating

Moreover, sparkling water carbonation can cause temporary gas and bloating in some individuals, making it uncomfortable for those with sensitive stomachs.

While sparkling water can be a tasty choice, moderation and awareness of these drawbacks are essential for maintaining good oral health and digestive comfort.

People who experience excessive gas or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) should avoid sparkling water as it may trigger increased gas and acid reflux symptoms.

You might want to avoid sparkling water altogether if you have irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). IBS is a digestive problem, and what you eat and drink significantly minimizes symptoms.

Do you bloat after consuming sparkling water? Try slowing down your drinking.

You will swallow more air if you drink (or eat) quickly. Swallow more air, and you can get gaseous distention of the stomach.

One more thing: Straw use may cause you to swallow more air.


In conclusion, sparkling water offers several potential health benefits that can make it an appealing choice for those looking to maintain or improve their well-being.

It can contribute to hydration, aid digestion for some individuals, and be a tooth-friendly alternative to sugary beverages.

Drinking sparkling water in moderation likely will not result in serious bloating, but please drink it in moderation.

Photo by Sam Cernik on Unsplash

It’s essential to consume sparkling water in moderation and be mindful of the specific type of sparkling water you choose. Opt for varieties without added sugars or excessive sodium to maximize health benefits.

While sparkling water can certainly be a part of a healthy lifestyle, it’s crucial to remember that individual responses to carbonation and flavor preferences may vary.

What’s most important is finding beverages that work for you and fit your overall diet and health goals. Is sparkling water a reasonable alternative for those trying to kick a soda habit? Absolutely.

So, the next time you reach for a refreshing, fizzy drink, you can savor it for its taste and the sparkling truth of its potential health benefits.

Final Tips — Choosing a Carbonated Beverage

I will end with three things to look for on carbonated water labels:

  • Make sure the drink has no calories or sugar.
  • Avoid drinks with regular sugar or high fructose corn syrup.
  • Check the sodium content.

Do you drink sparkling water?


Medika Life has provided this material for your information. It is not intended to substitute for the medical expertise and advice of your health care provider(s). We encourage you to discuss any decisions about treatment or care with your health care provider. The mention of any product, service, or therapy is not an endorsement by Medika Life

Michael Hunter, MD
Michael Hunter, MD
I received an undergraduate degree from Harvard, a medical degree from Yale, and trained in radiation oncology at the University of Pennsylvania. I practice radiation oncology in the Seattle area.

Michael Hunter, MD

I received an undergraduate degree from Harvard, a medical degree from Yale, and trained in radiation oncology at the University of Pennsylvania. I practice radiation oncology in the Seattle area.

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