From the moment it enters your mouth everything you eat and drink has the ability to impact your physical health in some capacity, starting with your teeth. In fact, the state of your dental health is very telling about the state of your overall physical health. Certain oral health problems like abscessed teeth or infections can be linked to greater health problems. For the sake of your overall and oral health it’s absolutely crucial that you be very selective about what you eat and drink.
Certain beverages in particular like coffee, tea or soda contain damaging properties like high acidity levels that can destroy your tooth enamel and cause severe discolouration over long periods of time. Even if some of these beverages have other proven health benefits they can still be damaging to your teeth. If these are beverages you consume on a regular basis then you might want to consider limiting your intake to help preserve your oral health.
Keep reading to learn all about the five most common beverages that can have a negative effect on your dental and oral health.
Almost everyone enjoys a nice glass of red or white wine with dinner from time to time or at special occasions like birthday parties and weddings. Studies have even shown that drinking a glass of red wine occasionally can help improve your heart health. However, wine also contains a lot of heavily acidic properties that can damage and eventually completely erode your tooth enamel—the protective layer on your teeth. Once tooth enamel is gone, it can’t be replaced and without it, you will most likely experience tooth sensitivity and discomfort.
Red wine in particular along with some rosés can even cause discolouration over time, so you might want to consider cutting down your red wine consumption or at the very least rinsing your mouth out after every glass.
Another highly acidic beverage on this list is soda. Unfortunately, there are no redeeming qualities for this particular drink because most sodas are full of sugar and other unhealthy ingredients. Drinking large quantities of soda is pretty much akin to eating spoonfuls of sugar. The average can of soda contains about 23 grams of sugar. Much like acid, sugar has the capacity to eat away at your tooth enamel.
Sugar also tends to stick to the surfaces of your teeth, causing plaque and tartar buildup. Harmful bacteria consume these substances and the longer they’re left to fester inside your mouth, the more at risk you are of developing cavities.
Like wine, it’s always a good idea to limit your soda intake or rinse your mouth out after drinking it. Since soda has no nutritional value whatsoever and only has negative effects on your health, you might even want to think about cutting it out of your diet altogether.
Many fruits like apples, bananas, oranges, pineapples, papayas, pears and so forth are already chock-full of natural sugars. While it’s important to include fruit as part of your daily diet most store-bought fruit juices are actually detrimental to your overall and oral health because they contain a host of additives and preservatives such as added refined white sugar. Check the fruit juice labels if you want to know exactly what extra sweeteners have been added to your favourite fruit juice.
Another problem with fruit juice is that most of the store-bought varieties are highly concentrated, which means that they expose your teeth to significantly higher quantities of harmful acid than if you were to simply eat the fruit in their natural form. Remember the whole fruit provides fiber and other nutrients also. To lessen the acidic impact of fruit juice on your teeth, some dental health professionals suggest diluting it with water to cut some of the acidity.
Like other types of alcohol, vodka has a pH level which means it is acidic that can destroy your tooth enamel beyond repair. Most vodka brands contain a pH level of around 4 but sometimes it can be closer to 8 depending on the brand. Mixing vodka into a cocktail or with fruity syrups only increases its ability to ruin your dental health. Plus, your body metabolizes alcohol as sugar, which can also be harmful.
Vodka, like other types of alcohol, also dehydrates your system. Dehydration leads to diminished saliva production, which causes dry mouth. Saliva not only moisturizes your mouth, but it also provides a natural defense mechanism against certain types of harmful bacteria. A severe lack of saliva can increase your risk of an oral infection and cavities.
Coffee and Tea
Many adults like to start their day off with either a hot cup of coffee or tea to help get them going in the morning. Drinking coffee and tea in moderation has actually been proven to have numerous health benefits including aiding in mental alertness and in some cases, weight loss. However, many of us tend to overdo our caffeine intake by drinking several cups at a time or ordering an extra-large size drink.
That can spell trouble for your teeth. Coffee and tea—especially darker and more heavily caffeinated varieties like black tea—can actually erode your tooth enamel and cause severe discolouration over time. Diminished or eradicated tooth enamel can lead to extreme sensitivity, gum disease, and it can even deteriorate the internal structure of your teeth due to bacterial exposure.
Since it`s unrealistic to ask adults to give up their coffee or tea drinking habits, most dental professionals suggest either cutting down or cutting out the sugar that is added or drinking these beverages through a straw instead. Straws limit the beverages’ contact with your teeth, which diminishes the risk of discolouration and enamel erosion. Rinsing your mouth out with water afterward also helps.
For more advice on taking care of your teeth and prolonging your oral health, make an appointment at Princeview Dental Group in Etobicoke. For over 25 years, our dental health professionals have been treating all kinds of dental problems like gum disease, discolouration, periodontitis and more. Book an appointment for a checkup or cleaning today!