Remember the story of a soda was used to disintegrate a tooth? This was done to show how the acid in the drink can destroy teeth, and to warn you about the dangers of drinking soda as a kid. In reality, there are many drinks we consume that affect the teeth. There are also steps you can take that will allow you to continue to enjoy the beverages you love.
- Soda – The most obvious offender. While it is important to curb your soda intake for a variety of health reasons, soda is acidic and will eat away at the enamel of teeth and then into the tooth itself. Its sugars promote the growth of bad bacteria that cause plaque which in turn cause cavities. All the way around, soda is bad for the teeth., if you do wish to have a refreshing soda once in a while, just remember to limit the time on the teeth (meaning do not sip soda for several hours continuously), and rinse with water and mouthwash afterwards.
- Coffee and Tea – Most of us would be hard-pressed to not have our little bit of caffeine, especially to start the day. Coffee and tea, however cause bad staining and the acids are harsh on tooth enamel. So just like soda, if you want to drink coffee or tea, do so in a single sitting, and brush gently afterward. If that is not possible, (for example, when you are on a long road trip or sitting in an office) we recommend that you also drink water at the same time. This will effectively lightly rinse the coffee/tea from your mouth and lesson the effect.
- Red Wine – Red wine, like the other acidic and staining beverages can cause significant damage over time. Switching to white wine can take away the staining factor, but if that is not your preference, drinking water in between sips can be very effective. When possible, you can put a ½ teaspoon of granular xylitol into the water as well. This will slightly sweeten the water, but also protect the teeth by returning the mouth to a more pH neutral level.
- Juices – Juices can very healthy, but many fruit juices have a lot of sugar. Sugar is the “food source” for the bacteria in the teeth that in turn cause the acid that creates plaque and tooth decay. If juices are part of your daily routine, be sure to brush afterwards to leave your mouth clean and your teeth healthy.
- Lemon Water – Lemon water and other acidic drinks can have great health effects, but the acid from the lemons (or limes, apple cider vinegar, etc.) can erode the enamel of the teeth. Avoid long tooth exposure to these acids by drinking with a straw. This will help bypass many of the teeth. Follow-up with a PH neutral mouth rinse (not another acid or alcohol based one). Avoid brushing for 30 minutes as your teeth will be “softer” and the brush could cause damage.
And lastly, remember that water is the best drink for your body and your teeth. Get plenty of water every day for a healthy body, and great teeth too!