While most people know to avoid drinking soda, there are some drinks that are considered healthy (like kombucha) but have a negative impact on your teeth.
On top of staining teeth, drinks with high acidic levels can soften tooth enamel making them sensitive and vulnerable to cavities. Soda doubles this risk as it is both acidic and packed with sugar. This article will go over how different beverages affect your teeth, and how to improve your dental health.
Beverages that are hurting your teeth:
Soda is well known for decreasing dental health, because it contains two of the worst things for your teeth: acid and sugar. One 12-ounce serving contains 8-10 teaspoons of sugar, which is more than the daily recommended amount for both men and women. Bacteria begins to metabolize the sugar and create acids as byproducts. Switching to sugar-free or diet soda doesn’t help much as the acidic additives used to flavor the drink are shown to lead to tooth decay.
While fruit juice can have many benefits, some drinks contain almost as much sugar as soda and can actually be worse for you. Similar to soda, bacteria converts sugar into an acid which dissolves the enamel and leave your teeth exposed. Some juices can be more acidic than vinegar when consumed excessively and can do more damage to your teeth than some soft drinks.
Although sports drinks are intended hydrate you and replenish the minerals lose from sweat, they usually contain a large amount of sugar and contain citric acid in order to extend their shelf life. Not only can this lead to cavities, but the colored dye can cause tooth staining.
Though Kombucha is marketed as a health drink to promote gut health, it can have adverse effects on teeth due to the low pH level. In order to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria Kombucha has a pH level around 2.5-3.5, and teeth begin or erode at a pH level below 5.5. Since the natural flavor of Kombucha is not very pleasant, many companies add artificial flavors or juices to improve the taste.
Beverages that are beneficial for your teeth:
Finding vegetable juice that is low in sugar can provide many benefits to dental health. Dark, leafy greens like spinach or kale are high in Vitamin B and calcium which boost enamel health. To keep the acidity level down, be sure to find drinks that have low levels of fruit.
Milk and other dairy products are high in calcium which helps strengthen teeth and bones. Along with this, milk contains casein protein and phosphorous which strengthens tooth enamel which helps fight tooth decay.
Not only does water hydrate you, but it helps wash away leftover food, acids, bacteria, and sugars that can lead to cavities. Swishing you mouth with water after drinking acidic beverages can help return the pH levels of your mouth back to normal. It also promotes salivary flow and the protective minerals that help protect teeth.
If you are looking for a caffeine boost, regularly drinking green tea is shown protect against cavities, gum disease, and bad breath. Green tea contains polyphenols which is an antioxidant that works to break down the bacteria that causes plaque and cavities. Researchers believe that the antimicrobial molecules called catechins (a type of polyphenols) kills the bacteria responsible for tooth decay. Be sure to avoid loading your tea up with honey or sugar as this can reverse the health benefits of green tea.
What to do?
Our beverage choices have a definite impact on tooth and gum health, but it doesn’t mean we have to cut out all of our favorite drinks. Make sure to check the labels on sports drinks and Kombucha to find the ones with the lowest sugar content. Make your favorite fruit juice at home and avoid fruits that are highly acidic like citrus. Drinking with a straw will help to reduce contact with your teeth and swishing your mouth with water after can help clean out leftover bacteria.
To find more tips on keeping your teeth and gums healthy check out the other articles on our website:
What’s your current favorite beverage?