4 Healthy Drinks That May Damage Your Teeth and Solutions Prevent Damage
Kombucha or kombucha tea is a fermented beverage derived from black and green tea and sugar. It has become so popular as it claims to have many health benefits as it has probiotics and vitamins.
Dr. Oh personally does drink kombucha tea and agrees that probiotic drinks can be incorporated into a healthy diet. However, she mentions drinking Kombucha (especially sweetened ones) on regular basis can be detrimental to teeth. Although they are not as sugary as soda or juice, many kombucha drinks have sugar or have added sugar. In addition, they are acidic, which can cause erosion of the enamel.
So what to do with consuming Kombucha if you do not want to damage your teeth and still get the benefit? Dr. Stella Oh suggests using a straw and drinking a sip of water afterward to help reduce high acidity. Brushing teeth soon after consumption would be the best.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is a popular folk remedy recommended for numerous internal and external uses. Proponents claim that it can aid in whitening your teeth, fight tooth decay, help heal chronic gum infections, support immune functions, assist in losing weight, regulate blood sugar and reduce the risk of heart disease. It’s also used to clean external surfaces – for example, fruits and vegetables when combined with lemon juice – and is suggested as a tonic to help clear skin of acne and remove the buildup of products in your hair. There is not a lot of scientific research, however, to back up its effectiveness or confirm its safety.
Although apple cider vinegar has been touted as a miracle cure when it comes to your tooth enamel, the acetic acid in the vinegar is terrible for it; rinsing with water might not prevent damage to the enamel. The vinegar has a pH level of 3.075, a level that makes it more harmful than coffee, but less harmful than lemon juice. Tooth enamel begins dissolving at a pH level of around 5.5.
Because tooth enamel is left in a weakened state after coming into contact with apple cider vinegar, it can be worsened if you brush your teeth right after sipping it or gargling it in your mouth. Instead, wait half an hour after consuming something acidic before brushing to avoid removing enamel when it’s in a tender state.
Juices and Smoothies
We hear about the juice cleanse and detoxing smoothie and some of us are one it or have tried it.
While there are so many benefits with these juices and smoothies with high contents of vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients, we have just a few concerns about consuming them.
Often these juices will contain high quantities of sugar which can contribute to tooth decay. Fructose, the sugar found in fruit such as apples and dates is a common cause of cavities as oral bacteria feed on it. Eating fruit as a whole would be a better suggestion as there is fiber to minimize the contact and the absorption of sugar. This combined with the acidity of the juices can lead to dental decay. Many of these have acidic juices from lemon or lime.
20% of cases of tooth enamel erosion is caused by the acid in the drink. Because enamel is what protects your teeth, the wearing away of this opens you up to complications such as decalcification, tooth decay, and ultimately the risk of having root canal therapy.
Many patients think they are taking good care of their teeth drinking juice and smoothie but are unaware of this invisible process. These popular juicing trends can cause the softening of the enamel which then can lead to long-term enamel loss that is irreversible. Additionally, the dark-colored juices and smoothies would likely stain the teeth, especially if it’s acidic. Dr. Stella Oh suggests to the patients of either drink sip of water or brush their teeth soon after consuming these beverages.
Kefir Drinks are another healthy, fermented drink that is popularized recently. Kefir is originated as fermented milk( from cow, goat, or sheep) drink using kefir grains which is a combination of yeast and bacteria. However, the kefir drinks can be derived from nondairy milk as well as fruit juices. Kefir is very nutritious with vitamins, minerals, probiotics, and many other benefits. These drinks are increasingly popular and they are now available in frozen forms.
Although Kefir milk and drinks can be healthy, many are sweetened with sugar or fruit juice. Unless the label indicates that it is “unsweetened” kefir, these drinks will promote decay. The drinks themselves have about a pH of 4.5 or so. Nearly all of them are sweetened, and with a combination of added sugar, this healthy drink option is may not be so healthy after all.
All these drinks are healthy and recommended – we all just have to look at the label for any added sugar and follow directions by our doctors. Dr. Stella Oh advises the patients to:
- Drink a sip of water immediately after consuming beverages or
- Rinsing with water and spit out if possible
- Brush your teeth shortly thereafter.
- Shorten the duration and frequency of consuming these beverages.
- If Teeth Sensitivity occurs, seek dental consultation
Thank you for reading and if you want to make an appointment or a consultation, please call us today!