When it comes to keeping your family’s teeth healthy, it’s important to ensure they brush and floss, but it’s just as important to be careful of what they put in their mouth. There is a long list of foods and drinks that are bad for your teeth. Some of these foods can actually hinder or reverse any good your dental routine is doing. Sugar drinks, such as fruit juices, soda, energy drinks and even sports drinks, are definitely on this list. Although they are the go-to beverage for children everywhere, they are not the best choice. Drinking too much can cause a host of dental problems including tooth decay and dental cavities.
What Effect Do They Have?
It’s widely known that regular drinking of sugary beverages is not good for you, but even the occasional indulgence can have negative effects on your oral health. When you have one of these drinks, the sugar clings to your teeth. Bacteria that are normally found inside your mouth eat away at the sugar these drinks leave behind. However, as the bacteria consumes the sugar, it begins to produce acid. Eventually, the acid begins to eat away at the enamel on your teeth. Each acid attack lasts for around 20 minutes. Every time you take a sip of the drink, the acid damage begins all over again. This makes the teeth thinner and weaker. As the enamel weakens, the likelihood of developing cavities becomes greater. Sugary drinks are known as one of the most common dietary causes of tooth decay.
How Can I Avoid This Damage?
The best way to minimize the tooth decay that is caused by consuming sugar drinks is to avoid them whenever possible. Consider other, healthier options to quench your family’s thirst, such as water or milk. If you do indulge though, make sure you rinse with water to flush your mouth and remove any of the sugar that remains. It’s also a good idea to purchase toothpaste and mouthwash that contain fluoride. Fluoride helps to reduce cavities and strengthen tooth enamel, so it can help to reverse the damage caused by these drinks. Your dentist can also directly apply fluoride to your teeth, as well.
If you can’t resist the sweet stuff, here are some tips for minimizing the damage done:
- Use a straw so your teeth are less exposed to the sugar and acid in the drink.
- Protect your teeth by using fluoride toothpaste. Also, after drinking sugary or acidic beverages, don’t brush your teeth right away. Wait at least one hour so your teeth can recover and your enamel can re-harden before you take the brush to them.
- Do not sip a sugary or acidic drink slowly or over a long duration. Doing so exposes your teeth to sugar and acid attacks for longer.
- Never drink sugary or acidic drinks before you go to bed – if you do, the liquid will pool in your mouth, coating your teeth with sugar and acid.
- Read labels. Regular soda is high in sugar. And diet or “sugar-free” soda pop is high in acid. Sugar and acid are both bad for your teeth.
If you have any questions about the effects sugary drinks can have on your teeth, call Winning Smiles to schedule an appointment with your dentist – 716-332-2444.