Forget everything you heard about leaching minerals and eroding tooth enamel - it's just water with bubbles.
Carbonated water is water in which carbon dioxide
gas has been dissolved, thus creating tiny bubbles. It's what gives soft drinks their almost irresistible effervescence, but its allure is thousands of years old. Julius Caesar, for instance, had a spa built around the naturally carbonated springs of Vichy, in France, and to this day, balneologists
(not your run-of-the-mill therapeutic specialists)
recommend drinking Vichy water, notable for its sodium bicarbonate content, as a digestif.
Artificially carbonated water was invented by chemist Joseph Priestley (1733 - 1804), who published his findings in a 1772 paper titled "Directions for Impregnating Water with Fixed Air." He's most famously known, by the way, as the scientist who identified the gas oxygen, and as luck would have it, this coming Sunday is Oxygen Day
at the Joseph Priestley House, in Northumberland, Pennsylvania. I can only wonder what Priestley, one of the world's great free-thinkers, would make of the current nonsense about the alleged harmful effects of carbonated water.