Sugary drinks, when not consumed in moderation, can often lead to tooth decay and erosion. But what constitutes a “sugary drink”? The obvious answer that comes to mind is soda- Coke, Sprite, Ginger Ale, you name it. But interestingly enough, drinks that we consider more healthy than soda- such as fruit juices, coffee, and energy drinks- can also cause long lasting damage on your teeth.
While these drinks may be considered “more healthy” than soda, an overwhelming amount of research shows that these drinks, due to their sugary and acidic nature, can lead to tooth decay. A couple of common drinks that we would not expect to be harmful include coffee, tea, citric fruit juices, and energy drinks. These kinds of drinks expose the teeth to tooth decaying acids, which can cause dental erosions that leads to cavities and a multitude of other dental health problems.
The problem lies within the drinks sugary and acidic nature. Whenever we consume something sugary, bacteria in our mouth produce acids from the sugar, causing tooth decay and erosion. Furthermore, we consume something that is acidic in nature, the enamel surrounding our teeth is temporarily softened. The enamel is the hard outer layer of our teeth that serves to protect against tooth decay, and is essentially our teeth’s first line of defense. Thus, when we consume drinks that are acidic, the acid can dissolve the enamel and heighten the risk of tooth decay. Unfortunately, a regular loss of enamel caused by overconsumption of sugary and acidic drinks can lead to cavities and expose the inner layers of our teeth- something that is sensitive and painful. The following list of drinks are still considered “more healthy” than soda, and we do not want to encourage you to stop consuming these drinks all together. But keep in mind, everything is great in moderation!
- Citric Juices
- Fruits like oranges, grapes, and lemons, are heavy with acids that wear down tooth enamel. While their vitamins and antioxidants are great for the body, always remember to wash the juice down with water, such that the acidic substances can be cleaned from the teeth!
- Similarly to citric juices, tea contains a large amount of healthy antioxidants. Still, we need to keep in mind that tea can cause staining and erosion of the enamel when not consumed in moderation.
- Energy Drinks
- Energy drinks contain a large amount of sugar, which alongside with bacteria produces acids that can erode the enamel of your teeth.
Lastly, there are certain steps that can be taken to protect against tooth decay and erosion. Stick to natural sugars, make regular visits to the dentists, enjoy healthy foods such as milk, cheese, and veggies, and consume smartly with food and drinks- you never know what could be hurting your teeth!