There’s nothing quite like a refreshing drink to quench your thirst. And while you may think you know which drinks aren’t the best for your teeth, you may be surprised to find how common beverages can negatively affect your dental health.
When it comes to how drinks affect your teeth, there are two main factors to consider: acidity and sugar content. So before you reach for your next drink, check out this list to find out which common drinks are a no-no.
Avoid this: Fruit juice
Even though the sugar in juice is natural, it can still cause damage that can lead to tooth decay. In addition to the sugar, juice also contains natural acids that can wear down the enamel on our teeth. Juice contains high levels of sugar, which creates an environment in which the strap-mutant (the oral bacteria that feeds on sugar) thrives. As the bacteria eats-up the sugar left by the juice on your teeth, it rejects acid, which attacks your tooth enamel, and can cause cavities and tooth decay!
Instead, try this:
A tasty and refreshing alternative to fruit juice, coconut water is both nutrient-dense and low in acidity, making it a great option for dental health. You can also reach for vegetable juice in lieu of fruit juice!
Avoid this: Coffee
Coffee can be a very acidic drink, especially if you love your black coffee. So it goes without saying, that if you are a daily drinker of coffee, it can lead to enamel erosion, causing your teeth to become more thin and brittle.
Instead, try this:
While you’ll want to avoid black teas that can stain your teeth, many herbal teas, especially white and green tea, may help fight cavities and gum inflammation because they contain fluoride and polyphenols, along with many other antioxidants. For the best health benefits, unsweetened or sugar-free tea is the way to go.
Avoid this: Alcohol
Alcohol is another beverage that can seriously impact your smile. If you drink more than the occasional cocktail, watch out for gum disease, dental decay, and stained teeth. Heavy drinking can also cause irritation of the tissues inside your mouth which may lead to severe issues like losing teeth!
Instead, try this:
While alcohol usually falls on the no-no list, you can minimize the damage to your teeth by opting for alcohol with lower acidity. An example of healthier option for your teeth is gin. It's the lowest acidity alcohol and doesn't contain any sugar! You can also use a straw to sip your drinks to lower the contact of alcohol with your teeth.
Avoid this: Sparkling water.
That’s right! It may not look harmful but looks can be deceiving. Sparkling water can have a pH level of 2.74-3.34. This gives it an even greater erosive potential than orange juice!
Instead. try this:
Water is truly the only beverage your body needs to survive, so the more water you drink, the better. Filtered tap water and bottled water with a healthy pH level will pose no problems for your teeth. Plus, staying hydrated allows you to produce healthy amounts of saliva. BUT watch out for bottled water: The brand of bottled water you buy makes a surprisingly big difference when it comes to acidity. Believe it or not, common brands like Dasani and Aquafina are acidic enough to be harmful to your teeth.
You certainly don’t have to stop drinking the beverages you love altogether, but it’s wise to be aware of what your favorite drinks can do to your teeth. While you should limit how much of these drinks you consume, you can take other steps to lessen their impact on your teeth, such as using a straw to limit your drink’s contact with your teeth and... brushing (even dry-brushing or with water only!) within 20 minutes after drinking anything else than water!