• Sugary and acidic drinks, like soda, coffee, alcohol, and citrus juices, can cause damage to your oral health over time.
• Limiting consumption of sugary and acidic drinks, rinsing with water after consumption, and using a drinking straw help prevent damage.
• Treatments like tooth implants, tooth bonding, and a root canal can help repair the damage caused by sugary and acidic drinks.
• Practice good oral hygiene habits and visit your dentist regularly to ensure optimal dental health.
Drinking is something that many enjoy. Whether it’s an occasional celebratory glass of champagne or a regular cup of coffee. However, many drinks can put your oral health at risk. Knowing which beverages to avoid can help you protect your teeth and gums from damage.
Why Your Oral Health is at Risk
When it comes to beverages, acidic and sugary drinks cause the most damage to your oral health. These factors cause increased bacteria growth and can make your teeth more vulnerable to erosion. In addition, both acidic and sugary drinks can cause tooth decay.
Drinks That Put Your Oral Health at Risk
They may seem innocent and won’t do anything in the first sip, but these sugary drinks can damage oral health over time. To give you a better look at the specific drinks that can put your oral health at risk, here are five drinks to avoid:
Sugary sodas are among the worst offenders when damaging oral health due to their high sugar and acid content. These drinks contain sugar, which feeds bacteria in the mouth leading to cavities. They also contain phosphoric and citric acids, which erode tooth enamel over time.
Coffee not only stains teeth with its dark pigment but also increases the production of acids in the mouth that can lead to erosion and sensitivity in teeth and gums. Consuming high volumes can also weaken the protective enamel layer on your teeth, causing decay.
While red wine has antioxidants that may benefit your health, alcohol still causes dry mouth, which prevents saliva from neutralizing acids in the mouth and can lead to tooth enamel erosion over time. Plus, alcohol has dehydrating effects (which cause dry mouth). It leads to bad breath—two factors negatively affecting dental hygiene.
Sports drinks are generally marketed as healthy options for athletes; however, most sports drinks have high amounts of sugar, which can lead to cavities if consumed too frequently. Since sugar is bacteria’s favorite food, it can lead to an overproduction of bacteria in the mouth that can cause decay and erosion.
Yes, citrus juices are healthy and can provide your body with essential vitamins, but they’re also very acidic. Citrus juices are very acidic, which means they can erode tooth enamel over time if consumed too frequently. Additionally, if you don’t rinse your mouth with water after drinking citrus juices, the acidity can linger in your mouth and cause significant damage.
Preventing the Damage
Fortunately, damages can always be prevented. You can enjoy your favorite drinks without compromising your oral health.
Limit Sugary and Acidic Drinks
There is no need to completely abstain from sugary and acidic drinks, but it is important to limit your consumption. If you choose to have a sugary or acidic drink, try drinking it quickly and following up with a glass of water. This helps in two ways: It dilutes the sugary and acidic content of the drink, and it helps to rinse away any residue that may be left in your mouth.
Use Straw When Drinking
Drinking straws are also a great way to prevent damage from sugary drinks because they help keep the liquid away from your teeth. Be sure to avoid sipping on these beverages and, instead, take small gulps every now and then to prevent damage.
Practice Good Oral Hygiene
Another way to protect your oral health is by practicing good oral hygiene habits like brushing twice daily, flossing at least once daily, and visiting your dentist regularly. It is also advisable to use an alcohol-free mouthwash to help neutralize acids in the mouth and reduce your risk of tooth decay.
Repairing the Damage
Unfortunately, it can be difficult to reverse the effects when damages have been done. But, with proper dental care and treatments, it is possible to repair the damage caused by sugary and acidic drinks. Your dentist may recommend a range of treatments, such as the following:
If the damage has caused you to lose a tooth or two, your dentist may recommend getting a tooth implant fixture. This involves replacing the damaged tooth with an artificial one that looks and functions like a natural tooth. These are made with biocompatible materials that won’t cause any further damage to your mouth and can last for many years.
Sometimes, the damage can be so severe that a filling or crown is insufficient. In these cases, your dentist may recommend tooth bonding. This procedure involves applying a special resin to the damaged teeth, which helps to strengthen them and protect them from further damage.
If the erosion has gone deep enough to cause nerve damage, your dentist may suggest a root canal to remove the infected pulp. This helps to prevent the infection from spreading and can also help to restore your tooth’s health.
The consciousness of what you drink is just as important as what you eat. If you want to avoid damaging your teeth and gums, limiting sugary and acidic drinks is best. So, think twice the next time you’re tempted to reach for a soda or juice. And don’t forget to practice good oral hygiene habits and visit your dentist regularly!