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Sip Smart this summer for a Sunny Smile

September 11, 2018 By Dr. Rick Leppo

Quenching summertime thirst could pose a dental concern if the drink selected is potentially damaging to your teeth. When you drink a liquid, the teeth are bathed in that beverage so your drink selection becomes especially crucial.  Unfortunately, some drinks pose a threat to your dental health- similar to that of sugary treats.

What are the drinks doing to your teeth?

Sugar and acid destroy teeth - just ask any dental professional because we see the negative effects teeth daily. Certain bacteria in your mouth thrive on sugars and acids to cause cavities.  The more sugar you consume, the more “fuel” these bacteria have to create cavities.  This is disappointingly, the ugly cycle of tooth decay.

Drinks that put teeth at risk

  • Soda (Yes, diet soda too!)

The oral damage of soda is disastrous because soda acid is so corrosive. Although diet sodas do not expose the teeth to sugar, they still contain significant amounts of acid that dissolve teeth creating cavities. Regular soda has both a high sugar content and acid- a double whammy.  Popular varieties of soda contain acids almost as strong as battery acid – YIKES!

  • Sweet Tea and coffee with sugar

Opt for these beverages without the addition of sugars. Tea and Coffee drinks are considered healthy and even beneficial to your health until you add additional sugar or sweeteners.

  • Energy drinks

Red Bull, Monster and Gatorade might give you an energetic jolt but to teeth they are a real let down. Not only are they extremely high in sugar, but also contain citric acid.  Drinks contain citric acid giving them a tart & fruity taste, but as a result can be quite acidic. Check the label for addition of this enamel destroyer.

  • Citric Juice

Grapefruit, orange and lemon juice, among other varieties, are acidic in nature. In addition, the juice may possibly have added unnatural sugar as well. To avoid wearing down enamel, drink the juice all at one sitting and certainly avoid sipping it over the course of the day. This is the best way you can minimize the exposure of the acid and natural sugars on the teeth.

Tips for Drinking These Drinks

Withstand dental decay and erosion.  The healthy choice for your mouth (and body) is water. However, it’s okay to indulge every now and then.  Limiting your exposure time to harmful sweetened and acid drinks avoids exposing the teeth to precarious effects. Give your smile a thirst quencher by brushing and rinsing regularly with fluoridated products to strengthen teeth when they are exposed to harmful sugar and acid.  As a final point, visit your dentist and dental hygienist regularly so we can assess issues possibly caused by beverages. Let us help you maintain that smile.

We’re Here To Help You

Dr. Rick Leppo, Dr. Caroline Connolly and your Columbia Dental Center care team are here for you.