The Truth About Beverages And Your Teeth

Calgary Dentist Dental TipsOver the years we have been taught a lot in the way of what we should – and shouldn’t – allow past our teeth. What we drink is most certainly on the surface of this topic, so let’s dive into the truths, and myths, surrounding our beverages and their impact on our dental health.

First, it is important to understand why beverages in particular are impactful to our dental health. When you take a swig of that tasty drink, it does not just reach chewing surfaces. It washes over the whole mouth, potentially coating each tooth and conveniently delivering negative agents into spaces that would otherwise not be affected by food alone.

There are two factors to consider in your beverages, under the light of dental health; sugar and acidity. It is common knowledge that sugar contributes to tooth decay, so typically avoiding sugary sodas, juices and red wine are to the advantage of good oral health. But drinks like orange juice, and diet soda, which have higher in acidity, have the potential to cause tooth decay as well. This actually includes sparkling water too, which naturally has a low ph making it acidic for the teeth. Coffee falls into this category also, which has no tendency to be sweet on its own, but will definitely erode tooth enamel with its acidity if not kept in check.

So what is the solution? We don’t want to be giving up our favourite drinks necessarily, but if we are concerned about proper dental health, then we need to be mindful of the drinks we choose.

The truth is, there are a lot of factors at play here. Your saliva works in many ways to rebalance the ph in your mouth on an ongoing basis. This rebalancing takes time to occur, however, 30 minutes or longer depending on the beverage consumed. It is in this time frame that tooth enamel is at the greatest risk of being deconstructed. You can give your mouth the advantage by brushing after a sugary or acidic beverage, or at very least rinsing with or drinking a glass of water. Rinsing the bad beverages from the teeth are a good place to start.

Minimizing the contact the beverages have with the teeth is also beneficial. While it might not be in the cards to avoid certain drinks all together, sipping them with a straw is a good compromise. That way the fluid is forced more into the back of the throat and is not encouraged to coat the teeth quite so aggressively.

Consuming your drinks during meals times is also a good preventative measure. By limiting the number of times per day you consume sugary or acidic drinks to when you are also eating, you also limit the exposure the teeth have to the substances. The food helps to dilute the impact and saliva is working overtime to help chew and digest. Sipping ‘bad’ beverages throughout the day is what really kills the teeth, by maintaining a consistent exposure with no breaks for the mouth to recover.

Become intentional surrounding the types of drinks you consume and when you consume them. The results will be overall better for your health, and your teeth!