What Your Favorite Beverage Does to Your Teeth
Posted by Inspire Smiles Dental on Jun 13 2019, 10:05 AM
Most of us have a favorite beverage we turn to regularly when we’re feeling thirsty or in need of comfort. If you are trying to take good care of your teeth, it’s worth your time to learn what your favorite drink may be doing to your teeth.
At Inspire Smiles Dental, we want you to have the tools you need to make healthy choices for your family. Learn more about how life affects your oral health by scheduling an appointment with Dublin, CA dentist Dr. Farhana Rassiwala. Request an appointment online or call our office at 925-833-9500 to set up a time to tour the office and discuss your needs.
Here are the oral health facts you should know about the most commonly consumed beverages:
- Soda and Diet Sodas: Whether you choose the sugar- or artificially sweetened version, all sodas are highly acidic. This can reduce the surface hardness of your teeth and contribute to acid erosion. The sugary versions encourage the growth of mouth bacteria, as well.
- Coffee: Despite health officials’ flip-flopping on the benefits of coffee drinking, we know that it contains a number of acidic compounds that are not good for your oral environment. If you add sugar or flavor syrups, this only makes it worse for your enamel.
- Tea: Surprise! Both black tea and green tea are good for your teeth. Researchers have found compounds in tea that attack harmful mouth bacteria. Black, tea, however, will stain your teeth.
- Lemonade and Orange Juice: There are two things to think about with juices, acid and sugar. Neither is good for your teeth, for the reasons mentioned above.
- Sports Drinks: They may not contain as much sugar as sodas, but sports drinks are indeed sugary, and this encourages bacteria to grow and release harmful acids. If you drink sports drinks while working out, breathing through the mouth can exacerbate the problem by creating a bacteria-friendly dry environment.
- Wine: All wine is acidic, and therefore contributes to enamel erosion. White wine is worse for your teeth, curiously, but red wine may stain the teeth with its dark pigments.
- Beer: Think of beer as being similar to sugary sodas, in terms of your teeth. Beer is chock full of carbohydrates, which form plaque and feed mouth bacteria as much as sugars.
- Seltzer Water: Carbonation itself is not harmful to your teeth, but flavored seltzers can be high in citric acid. It’s not nearly as bad as colas, but it’s something to be aware of. If you prefer your water fizzy, drink the classic unflavored variety.
Small Changes, Big Impact
Far be it from us to suggest you give up your favorite drink because it may harm your teeth! Instead, we encourage patients to be aware of the effects your morning coffee or evening glass of wine will have, and occasionally take steps to offset the potential damage.
These are our favorite easy ways to make your favorite drinks less harmful to your teeth.
- Consume Milk or Non-Dairy Milks – Calcium offsets acidity; that’s why you find it in stomach antacids. Adding milk to your coffee will bring the pH level up. Even soy milk, rice milk, and other non-dairy milks will neutralize some of the acid found in coffee.
- Buy a Low–Acid Version – Both coffee and orange juice can be found in low-acid varieties. If you drink a lot of either, do an online search to see which brands have the lowest levels of acids.
- Use a Straw – Many people don’t realize that the simple act of using a straw limits the amount of contact your teeth have with beverages. If you avoid straws due to the ecological impact of plastic waste, buy a pack of paper straws. They work better than plastic in hot beverages and can be recycled.
- Take Cheese with Your Wine – Not only do cheeses contain calcium, which neutralizes acids, they also provides a slight prophylactic effect when consumed with or before wine. The waxy texture of cheese almost forms a barrier over your tooth enamel, which can prevent wine pigments from settling into the matrix structure of your enamel.
- Reach for Root Beer – Oddly enough, root beer typically has a higher pH than colas and clear sodas. If you need some of that sweet fizzy goodness that soda provides, have a root beer next time.
- Seek Safe Whitening Treatments – If coffee, tea, and red wine are a regular part of your diet, you may have already thought about teeth whitening. If you want to remove pigment stains from your teeth, ask Dr. Rassiwala about safe whitening treatments you can use at home.
- Drink More Water! We know you hear this from every health professional, but water should always be your first choice when you are feeling thirsty. It can also counteract some of the negative effects of other drinks if you take a few sips of water after you drink them. Next time you finish a cup of coffee, reach for your water to rinse away the residue.
Are you in need of a Dublin, CA dentist? At Inspire Smiles Dental, you’ll find a friendly and relaxed environment where we put your experience first. Contact us for an appointment with Dublin, CA dentist Dr. Farhana Rassiwala.