We hear it a lot. We know we should avoid fizzy fruit drinks, cola, and sports drinks that we consume in surprising quantities, even when the weather is cold. And, if you’re wondering, Prosecco counts as a fizzy drink too. So whatever the occasion, the weather, or the season, what is the best drink for teeth?
What’s Fizz Free?
#gofizzfree points out that the simple act of not buying flavoured, sweetened drinks will help us to:
- save money,
- lose weight, and
- keep our teeth.
And it’s not just the fizz our kids are drinking we need to stop buying. Adults are regularly consuming sparkling wines, beer, and mixers too. And there are all kinds of creative fizz combinations – the milk coke craze is just one of them!
We want to preserve our teeth.
Saving money is always good, and making sure we’re not overweight is healthy too, especially with increasing obesity levels, and the age of people diagnosed with type 2 diabetes decreasing. As dentists, however, we’re primarily concerned about the effect that fizzy drinks have on our teeth.
So why do fizzy drinks damage our teeth?
We’ve heard a lot about the high levels of sugar in drinks, resulting in the introduction of the sugar tax. We know that sugar causes tooth decay. Bacteria love sugar, and the longer our mouth stays sweet, the more bacteria can flourish.
Yet the appeal of fizzy drinks is in the fizz as well as the taste. The fizz is created by adding carbon dioxide under pressure. The two react producing carbonic acid. Although that sounds dangerous, it’s a mild acid. At around 3-4 on the pH scale, it’s worse than drinking black coffee, but not as acidic as vinegar. In fact, plain sparkling water is only a little more harmful to tooth enamel than still water.
According to studies, it’s the combination of fizz and sugar that causes the problem. The acid found in fizzy drinks and sparkling wine, for example, weakens tooth enamel allowing the bacteria that are thriving in the sugary environment easier access into the teeth. It takes time and saliva to neutralise the acid, helping to re-mineralise our teeth and toughen them up again to keep out bacteria.
What’s the best drink for healthy teeth?
It has to be water! Quick, easy, refreshing and kind, it’s the best fix to replenish our bodies most vital component. And it’s gentle on our teeth. Plain old tap water is our best, safest choice. Most municipalities monitor the pH, keeping it just right. And some add fluoride too, although that’s another topic.
The other great choice is milk. The pH is only very slightly below neutral, although as it becomes sours it becomes more acidic. And, so long as you avoid flavoured milks with added sugar, the sweet taste of milk comes naturally from lactose.
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And don’t forget temperature control.
Temperature changes can cause tooth enamel to crack. A sudden temperature change causes thermal shock. Even gradual temperature changes cause the dentine and the enamel to expand and contract at slightly different rates. Over time, teeth will feel more sensitive and look more stained.
7 tips for healthy drinking:
- Drink more water than any other fluid.
- Allow very cold drinks to lose the brain-freeze factor.
- Limit, acidic drinks that erode enamel.
- Check the sugar content on labels.
- Remember saliva helps to neutralise acid and control bacteria.
- Use a straw to keep damaging ingredients away from teeth.
- Keep up the minimum twice-daily oral hygiene routine.
How can the dentist help?
- If your teeth feel sensitive when you eat or drink something hot or cold, make an appointment with your dentist.
- Ask your dentist about tooth whitening if fine cracks in your teeth are picking up stains.
- Regular check-ups will identify any dental issues before they become problems. Ask about different ways to pay for dental treatment.
Contact your nearest SpaDental to find out more. Why not try the online chat button to ask us a question?