Still versus sparkling: Which water is better for you?

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You may not need to drink eight glasses of water per day, depending on your physical activity level, medical conditions, environment, and body size. But one thing is certain: Americans love the carbonated option. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

“It’s a little more exciting than flat water.” That’s partly how Christina Caron, reporter for the Well section of the New York Times, explains America's fascination with carbonated beverages. Flavored and mineral waters bring in  nearly $4 billion worth of sales annually.

Without the sugar or caffeine of soda, bubbly water is created by carbon dioxide, which converts to carbonic acid when mixed with saliva. The acid lowers the pH level in the mouth, which can damage the enamel of teeth. The dentist that Caron spoke with for her piece reassured her that carbonated water should be consumed more deliberately and enjoyed with food, and is still not as detrimental to teeth as soda or sugary fruit drinks. However, the best choice is old-fashioned tap water with fluoride.