Many of our patients inquire about the best foods for dental health, but few consider the large impact liquids have. Today, we’d like to share some information on this important topic and remind you to brush your teeth after consuming drinks that can negatively impact your oral hygiene.
1: Alcoholic Beverages
Alcoholic beverages can do a number on your oral health due to two main factors: their acidity and their tendency to dehydrate your body, including your mouth. Acidity is the enemy of enamel health, as it can soften and wear away enamel, leaving your teeth unprotected and susceptible to decay and heightened sensitivity.
A lack of saliva can also damage your oral health. As WebMD explains, saliva functions in a variety of ways to protect your oral hygiene. They note:
“Saliva is important because it:
- Keeps your mouth moist and comfortable
- Helps you chew, taste, and swallow
- Fights germs in your mouth and prevents bad breath
- Has proteins and minerals that protect tooth enamel and prevent tooth decay and gum disease
- Helps keep dentures securely in place”
2: Sugary Drinks
Sodas and sports drinks are notoriously bad for your teeth, and the reason is simple: sugar. Sugar’s byproduct is acid. Sodas and sports drinks expose your teeth to sugar with each and every sip, leaving your enamel increasingly vulnerable. Brushing after consuming sodas, sports drinks or other sugary beverages will remove the layer of sugar and prevent exposing your teeth to acidification. While staying hydrated during physical activity is a must, opt for plain water in lieu of a sports drink to stay hydrated and healthy.
Dental Disaster 3: Too Much Seltzer
Seltzer water, while an effective tool for cutting down on soda, can do more harm than good when over-consumed. It also contains more acid than plain water. In order to mitigate the impact of this acidity, the American Dental Association offers this helpful tip: “Be mindful of what’s in your sparkling water. Citrus-flavored waters often have higher acid levels that does increase the risk of damage to your enamel. Plan to enjoy these in one sitting or with meals. This way, you aren’t sipping it throughout the day and exposing your teeth over and over again to the slightly higher level of acid it contains.”
It is, of course, important to remember that life is all about balance. No one could or should avoid all of these drinks all of the time. Instead, aim to reduce as many of them as you can from your daily routine and try to incorporate them, instead, on special occasions.