What you eat and drink has a significant impact on the health of your mouth. Learn how these 6 common drinks affect your dental health, and what you can do about it.
Milk contains nine essential nutrients that can benefit your overall health including calcium, vitamin D, casein, and phosphorous, all of which can help to strengthen your bones and your teeth. Milk actually protects and strengthens tooth enamel, fights tooth decay, and strengthens your jaw bone, allowing you to keep your natural teeth longer. The sugar found in milk is lactose, which produces less acid than most sugars and does not promote tooth decay.
Drinking water is always good for your health, but it’s especially helpful in maintaining oral health. If you drink treated water, your water probably contains fluoride, which actually strengthens your teeth. Even plain water can help keep your mouth healthy by rinsing away sugars and acids that can wear away the enamel on your teeth. Water also helps you produce saliva, which helps to keep teeth clean and strong and prevents dry mouth.
Citrus fruits are loaded with acids that can wear down the enamel on your teeth. Fruit juices, which contain sugar as well as acidic juice, have been found to have the capacity to decrease enamel hardness by 84%! Studies show that fruit juices may be among the most damaging drinks for your teeth, but you don’t have to give up juices. Try using a straw when you drink juice, and rinse your mouth with water or brush your teeth after drinking to remove harmful sugars and acids.
Black coffee is relatively harmless to your teeth in terms of health but can contribute to staining. Coffee contains tannins, a type of polyphenol that causes color compounds to stick to your teeth. The result is an unpleasant yellow stain. It only takes one cup of coffee a day to stain your teeth, but don’t panic if you love your coffee! Your biannual dental cleaning can help to remove stains from coffee. You can help prevent stains by brushing your teeth right after drinking coffee and using a stain-prevention or whitening toothpaste when you brush. You also need to remember that adding sugar to your coffee can contribute to acid erosion.
When you drink soda, the sugars in the soda interact with bacteria in your mouth to form acids which erode the enamel on your teeth. Each sip of soda starts a damaging reaction that can last up to 20 minutes. These attacks affect the dentin in your teeth resulting in cavities and caries. If you drink soda, you should do so limitedly and follow up by rinsing your mouth with water or brushing your teeth to avoid the long-term damage associated with acid erosion.
You may think that sports drinks are better for your health than sugary sodas or juices, but if you are talking about your dental health, you would be wrong. Sports drinks have a very high level of acidity and can contribute to tooth erosion, hypersensitivity, and staining. Sports drinks can cause excessive tooth wear and may damage underlying tissues, contributing to softer, weakened teeth. These drinks may also trigger conditions that lead to severe tooth damage and loss. It is essential that you rinse with water after drinking sports drinks and before you brush your teeth.
In a perfect world, we would brush our teeth after every drink, meal, or snack, but most of us don’t live in perfect circumstances. Making good choices when you choose a drink can go a long way toward keeping your teeth healthy and strong. Water is always a safe and healthy choice, so when in doubt, reach for a bottle of the wet stuff! And if you have concerns about your teeth or tooth-staining, give us a call and we’ll let you know how we can help.