We've all been cautioned against overdoing it on our soda consumption but what other beverages put our oral health at risk and which drinks can we rely on to be safe for both our teeth and gums? We're here to clear up any confusion so you can brush easy, and drink confidently.
It helps to understand how sugar drinks like soda effect your dental health. Everyone has harmful bacteria in their mouths that eat the sugars we consume. The bacteria get energy from the sugar, but in the process they produce acid. The acid they make can damage teeth, causing cavities to form or erosion to occur. Even beverages claiming to be 'healthy' or 'all natural' can contain huge amounts of sugar, so it's something you want to examine on the contents label, with each new beverage you try.
For example, if you think you're safe by choosing to drink only orange or apple juice, thank again. A glass of apple or orange juice can contain a similar amount of sugar to glass of soda. According to the USDA, sugar should make up no more than 10% of your daily calories. For women, that is 10-15 tsp. per day. For men, it’s 12.5-18.75 tsp. Just one glass of that apple or orange juice would put many people at or just under their entire daily limit.
We understand that eliminating sugary drinks from our diets may be best but is also nearly impossible so instead we suggest reducing the amount of sugary beverages that you consume and substituting them with healthier options that contain less sugar. There are also some general tips for when we can't resist those sugary drinks or additives that we recommend:
- Drink, Don't Sip
Sipping allows bacteria more time to ingest the sugar and create acid that contributes to cavity development. By drinking quickly, your body has time to wash away the bad stuff. Try to drink sweetened coffees, teas or sodas in one sitting instead of sipping on them over a longer amount of time. If you give your child juice, have them drink it with meals only, and put only water in a sippy cup they might carry around during the day.
Become A Rinser
There's no need to hang on to that last little flavor of OJ or root beer, so why not incorporate a refreshing swish of water after each downing of a beverage? This quick and easy act can go a long way for cleansing any contaminants that may have stuck around on your teeth or gums and removing excess acids.
Always brush your teeth twice a day for at least two minutes, and clean between your teeth with floss once a day. We suggest asking your dentist about the best, safest ways to do this. Make sure to help children under the age of 8 to brush and floss as well, and make regular dentist visits.
To clarify even further, here are list of drinks that we know contain a lot of sugar and could damage your teeth and gums with overexposure, and a list of alternatives that are better options.
- Chocolate Milk
- Energy Drinks such as Monster or Redbull
- Fruit Punch or Juices
- Unsweetened Tea
- Sparkling Water
- Diluted Juices
If you've found healthy beverage options that you love, feel free to reach out and tell us your secrets! We love to hear from you!