Which drinks are safe for my teeth?

 Q. I know that I’m supposed to drink water but I just have to drink something with a bit of flavor.   Which drinks are safe for my teeth?

A. What you drink has a significant impact on the health of your teeth and gums.  Below are a few things you need to consider when making your beverage selection.

How acidic is it?
The acid in your drink hurts your teeth regardless of the vehicle. Orange juice in excess wears enamel away, however; orange juice with calcium added negates the citric acid. Even some herbal teas register as acidic. If the beverage bubbles, chances are there is some type of acid added.

How often?
How you drink is more important than what you drink. A sip or swish of sports or soft drinks every 10-30 minutes, for example, exposes your teeth for hours on end to sugar and acid. Even if the amount is one can or bottle, not enough time has elapsed between sips for the teeth to return to their normal hardness.

When should you brush?
The worst time to brush is immediately after a swallow of soda, sports drink or juice. The acid softens the enamel, so when an abrasive agent (toothpaste) is used mechanically (brushing), it removes layers of enamel. After consuming acidic drinks, it is better to swish the mouth with water and wait one hour to brush to decrease the amount of tooth lost.

Diet or Regular Soda?
Diet sodas have the same acid content as regular soft drinks. People often consume even greater quantities of diet soda, falsely thinking it is a harmless, calorie-free liquid. When acid softens the enamel it takes hours for the enamel to recover. The erosive effect is cumulative: the more a person drinks the more enamel is lost.

Check out http://www.drinksdestroyteeth.com for more information including a table showing how the acidity of your favorite beverage stacks up.

Do you have a dental question you’d like answered?  Mail your question to 4573 E. State Road 236, Middletown, IN 47356, email us at ask@titusdentistry.com, or click the link in the sidebar to submit your question… and watch this column for the answer!