The erosive potential of additive artificial flavoring in bottled water

Gen Dent. 2018 Sep-Oct;66(5):46-51.


Acidic beverage consumption is a well-recognized contributor to extrinsic dental erosion. Although the pH values of some commercially available bottled waters are below neutral pH, water is still considered to be a safe and healthy choice. Artificial flavoring liquids or powders, known as water enhancers (WEs), have been introduced to the market to modify the taste of water. The purposes of the present study were to measure the pH and titratable acidity of WEs and to perform gravimetric analysis of teeth immersed in solutions of WEs mixed with different brands of bottled water in order to determine the erosive potential in vitro. The pH and titratable acidity using 0.1M sodium hydroxide were calculated for 7 brands of WEs added to 3 brands of bottled water, which had different initial pH values. Extracted human molar teeth were submerged in each combination of solutions for gravimetric analysis. Distilled water was used as the positive control and citric acid as the negative control. Data were analyzed with 2-way analysis of variance and post hoc Tukey-Kramer testing (P = 0.05). The pH value (2.9-3.0) and titratable acidity (32.2-35.3 mmol/L hydroxide) of all of the experimental solutions were considered acidic, regardless of the WE brand. Average tooth structure loss after 1 month of immersion in the solutions was 4%, and surface changes were consistent with erosive dissolution. The results showed that adding a WE to water significantly increases the potential for dental erosion. The high content of citric acid in WEs is believed to be the cause. Patients should be advised to use WEs with caution.

Keywords: commercial beverages; dental erosion; erosive potential; pH; water enhancers.

MeSH terms

  • Drinking Water / adverse effects*
  • Drinking Water / chemistry
  • Flavoring Agents / adverse effects*
  • Humans
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Molar / drug effects
  • Tooth Erosion / chemically induced*


  • Drinking Water
  • Flavoring Agents