The Five Worst Drinks For Your Dental Health
What are you drinking when you’re not drinking water? Wurzbach Parkway Family Dental is a big advocate of drinking more water to maintain your oral health, but we also know that people enjoy drinking a greater range.
The decrease in oral health and increase in dental erosion is thought to be primarily due to popular drinks that both adults and adolescents frequently consume. These drinks are usually highly acidic and sugary, which is a recipe for cavities and gum disease.
We want to help you make smarter choices when it comes to what you consume, so we’re going to spotlight five of the most common water alternatives (which also happen to be the five worst.) Odds are you regularly enjoy at least one beverage on this list, which is why we thought you should know.
Sodas and Energy Drinks
There are just about a million choices out there for sodas and energy drinks, but no matter the flavor, they all have the same adverse effect on your teeth and gums.
Tooth plaque is a type of bacteria that uses the sugars in soda drinks to manufacture acids that attack the precious enamel of your teeth. Your enamel protects your teeth from rot and decay, so it’s crucial to preserve.
Most carbonated soft drinks are also acidic. Acids are often added to beverages to give them distinctive tangy or tart tastes so as to balance and complement the sweetness of the sugar. Acid also erodes tooth enamel. If you’d like to read more about how acid affects your teeth and see just how acidic certain drinks are, you can check out this interesting report from the American Dental Association (ADA). They list just about every kind of drink available – you might be surprised how acidic your favorite beverage is!
Juices and Citrus Drinks
Lemon, lime, grapefruit, orange, and pineapple: Delicious! Refreshing! Tropical! And, consumed in larger quantities, bad for your teeth, unfortunately. Citrus is highly acidic (there’s that dang “acid” word again. Yes, acid is the enemy.) And you know by now what acidic means – bye bye tooth enamel, hello cavities.
Juices also contain large quantities of sugar, and sugar just so happens to be the favorite food of cavity-producing bacteria.
The caffeine in coffee dries out your mouth. When your mouth is dehydrated, you’re not producing saliva, which protects your teeth from harmful bacteria.
Coffee also stains your teeth, and it’s highly acidic to boot. And if you add sugar to sweeten it, well then that’s a triple whammy of not-very-good-for-you-ness.
Anyone who’s had a little too much knows that alcohol causes dehydration and dry mouth. Excessive alcohol reduces your mouth’s production of saliva, which then leads you down the path toward tooth decay and gum disease. (Alcohol also significantly increases your chances of developing mouth cancer, when consumed in large amounts.)
Most so-called “sports” drinks are the opposite of healthy because sugar is their number one ingredient. Some sports drinks even use three different kinds of sugars so they don’t have to list sugar as their number one ingredient, which can mislead people into thinking they’re more healthy than they really are.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) says that sports drinks can “be helpful for young athletes engaged in prolonged, vigorous physical activities, but unnecessary in most cases.”
We hope that we were able to shed some light on your favorite water alternatives and just how unhealthy they can be, despite how they’re marketed. We’re not saying that you should never consume the above drinks (we’re no saints ourselves), but we are trying to make you aware of just how important it is to drink more real water and less sugar water. If you’re guilty of drinking too much from this list, then here’s what you can do: start drinking more water and get ahold of us here to schedule an appointment so we can help you get back on track to a healthy smile.