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It should be no surprise that anything you put in your mouth can affect your teeth in some way, even beverages. Sometimes a simple drink may stain your teeth, over the long term. Other times the acidity of the drink can soften tooth enamel, causing sensitivity and creating vulnerability to cavities. This article will go over how certain drinks affect the overall health and appearance of your teeth, and hopefully provide some helpful tips for taking care of your teeth.
Most consumers are aware that soda - while tasty - is not the best for one’s health in general - including their teeth. Soda has high amounts of acid and sugar, two of the worst things that impact teeth. Citric and phosphoric acid are flavorful additions to soft drinks, but such ingredients can wear down the enamel protecting your teeth.
Fruit juices have the potential to have just as much sugar as a bottle of soda. Furthermore, concentrated fruit juices are more acidic compared to eating the fruit itself. If you are worried about fruit juice affecting your teeth, look for low sugar options or dilute your fruit juices with half juice and half water.
If you’re looking for a drink that’s healthier than fruit juice, turn to vegetable juice. When you’re making or buying vegetable juice, be sure to limit the amount of fruit in the juice, since more fruit equals more sugar in the drink. Dark, leafy greens, such as spinach or kale, are the best vegetables to include in your drink because they have high amounts of calcium that can boost enamel health. They also contain vitamin B, which can help fight against gum disease. If you need a little sweetness in your vegetable juice, look for ones that have a small amount of juice from carrots or apples, which are healthy in moderation. Vegetable juices are usually healthier than fruit juices. Some vegetables - such as spinach or kale - are particularly healthy. Spinach and kale contain calcium which boosts enamel, and they also provide vitamin B which helps fight gum disease. It’s worth noting that some vegetable juices also feature fruit ingredients and therefore still contain sugar. If you want vegetable drinks that still have some sweetness to them, both carrot juice and apple juice are some of the healthier options when drunk in moderation.
Red wines are generally better for your teeth than white wines. Red wines can stain your teeth, but white wines are more acidic and wear down enamel more. If you want to reduce staining from red wines, rinse your mouth with water after drinking.
Different types of teas can have a different impact on your teeth. Some research suggests that drinking green tea could have a positive effect on decay prevention and gum health. Brewed teas usually have a pH above 5.5, which makes them safer for your enamel. On the other hand, many iced teas have a very low pH that’s around 2.5 to 3.5, which means they’re acidic enough to cause damage to your enamel. Plus, some iced teas contain high levels of sugar. There are many different types of tea, all with varying impacts on your teeth. Some studies have shown that drinking green tea can have a positive effect on preventing tooth decay and increasing gum health. In general, brewed teas usually have a pH above 5.5, which means they aren’t too acidic. Ice teas, however, have lower and more acidic pH levels of around 2.5 to 3.5. Iced teas can also contain lots of sugar, so best to stick to the hot stuff if you want to protect your teeth more.
As many would have already expected while reading, water is the healthiest drink there is. A glass of water is always helpful for washing away leftover organic matter on your teeth - be it food, sugars, acids, or bacteria. Water also restores the pH balance of your mouth and helps you stay hydrated. Staying hydrated, in turn, means more saliva with natural minerals that protect your teeth.
Despite containing water, additional ingredients inside many sparkling waters can lower pH levels to be below those found in a glass of orange juice. The acidity of many sparkling waters is between 2.74 and 3.34, so they aren’t as healthy as you may be led to believe.
Milk is also a classic healthy option. Milk is full of calcium, phosphorus, and a protein called casein. Calcium strengthens teeth and bones; phosphorus helps repair and strengthen tooth enamel that has dissolved from exposure to acid; and casein also helps fight tooth decay by generally strengthening your tooth enamel.
Sports drinks are touted as perfect ways to get vitamin and mineral boosts after a workout, but they also frequently contain massive amounts of sugar and sodium. So, apart from sugar affecting your tooth enamel, many sports drinks also provide an unnecessarily large number of calories. While it may feel as though there are too many downsides to drinking most beverages besides water and milk, it is important to remember that moderation is key in all things. By knowing which drinks are better or worse than others you can make more informed choices and keep your teeth as strong as your smile.