Whether you are sipping on a drink to quench your thirst, satiate your hunger or liven up a night out, the choices you make about what you put into your body can have a big impact on your teeth. Drinking a glass of red wine or sugary soda, enjoyed sparingly, will unlikely change your dental health significantly. However, the beverages you choose to consume habitually, will impact your dental health in varying ways.
Below, you will find a list of some of the most popular beverages that American’s drink today alongside the dental health impacts of these choices for you to keep in mind as you consume. As always, if you are concerned about your dental health, Dr. Bowyer provides free consultations that can help you achieve your healthiest smile!
Soda has always had a bad reputation when it comes to your dental health, and it’s well deserved. Regular sodas are high in sugars. When you drink soda, the sugars interact with natural bacteria in your mouth to create acid. This acid is the biggest cause for concern when it comes to your dental health, as it erodes the enamel on your teeth and many help contribute to cavities. While all soda’s contain acid, choosing a soda, like Sprite, with less acid will be a smarter choice when reaching for a bubbly beverage, in addition to choosing one containing less sugar.
Given sugar’s harmful effects when converted to acid in your mouth, you may be thinking that simply switching to a diet soda will be beneficial for your dental health. And while choosing a diet soda is a smarter choice for your teeth than a regular soda, you are not completely reducing risk. Diet soda actually still contains a lot of acid, that will wear on your teeth, even though there are not sugars to convert into acid.
With soda becoming a less popular choice among the health conscious population, sparkling water has gained a large following of fans. Many who are fans of sparkling water have decided to make the switch from soda to protect their health, and their waistline. While sparkling water is a significantly better option of beverage for your overall health, there are still things to consider when it comes to your dental health. Flavored sparkling waters contain acids and have a PH of 3 or 4, which means that these can be harmful to your teeth. Both club soda & mineral water has a PH above 5, and therefore is a good option if you are looking for a sparkling beverage that won’t erode your enamel. If you do choose to have a sparkling water, it is best enjoyed alongside a meal to reduce impacts to your dental health.
Both kids and adults may believe that they are consuming a healthy choice when choosing to drink a glass of juice. And while juice certainly can contain important nutrients, many varieties also contain just as much sugar as a glass of soda. Try serving your kids 100% juice options, instead of those with added sugars, and limit intake to 4-6 ounces per day.
Finally some good news on this list! Tea – especially green tea and black tea – not only do not cause harm to your teeth, but have actually been shown to have positive effects on patient’s dental health! Both green and black tea contain fluoride, which can help prevent tooth decay. These teas help reduce the bacteria in your mouth that results in decay-causing acid. However, this is only a helpful beverage to drink if you are not concerned about yellowing teeth, as both teas do contain tannins. Additionally, adding lemon, honey or sugar will negate these positive aspects.
Most people already know that coffee can stain your teeth and turn them yellow. Just like most of the other beverages on this list, coffee is also very acidic, and therefore can erode the enamel of your teeth. Moreover, sugary coffee drinks have become a common habit for many people, and furthering the damage coffee can cause. If you choose to drink coffee on a regular basis, stick to the unsweetened stuff. Following up your cup of Joe with a glass of water will also help limit the long term effects.
Milk is a great choice of beverage if you are looking to improve your dental health. While milk won’t reverse cavities or make up for other poor dental health choices, it is not an acidic beverage. Additionally, milk contains vital nutrients, including calcium, that will help strengthen both your teeth themselves and your jaw bone.
While it is rare to meet someone who doesn’t enjoy the occasional glass of soda, sparkling water or coffee, it is important to understand how drinking these beverages can effect your dental health. When possible, choose to consume your beverage quickly instead of sipping throughout the day, to limit the amount of time your teeth are exposed to sugars and acids. Drinking a glass of water or brushing your teeth when you are finished will also help limit the effects of these beverages.
If you are concerned about how your habits have been impacting your dental health, Dr. Bowyer offers free consultations. Give us a call at (360) 253-2640 to schedule your appointment.