How Do Your Favourite Drinks Impact Your Dental Health?
Dental education in this country is something we sometimes take for granted. Most Australians are taught from an early age about all of the things that can harm our teeth: fizzy drinks, sugary cordial, smoking and many more. However, it’s not uncommon for all of these warnings to be ignored in the pursuit of the sugary high we get from certain food and drinks.
It’s true that some drinks can have an adverse effect on our dental health. Worst of all, sometimes the damage caused by sugary drinks is irreversible. Problems caused can include tooth decay and erosion of tooth enamel, the latter of which can never be repaired. So, as a refresher, here is a list of how certain drinks can damage your dental health.
Soft drinks and energy drinks
It’s the drinks we’re warned about from a young age. Fizzy drinks, soft drinks, soda – whatever you choose to call them, they’re a dental nightmare. Modern energy drinks are much the same, but with added caffeine. The worst thing about soft drinks is they have multiple ways they can damage your dental health.
Firstly, these carbonated drinks are packed with sugar. So much sugar, in fact, that they wouldn’t be recommended as a healthy drink by any medical professional. The sugar interacts with good bacteria in your mouth and creates an acid that slowly eats away at your tooth enamel. Tooth enamel is the protective coating on your teeth, and when it’s gone, it’s gone. There are no ways to get your tooth enamel back, and you’re always at risk of dentin hypersensitivity.
Once your tooth enamel erodes, the sensitive parts of your teeth are exposed, meaning your teeth can be easily damaged. The other effect of sugar, carbonation and acid is the growth of more bacteria. This bacteria leads to tooth decay and cavities.
You don’t have to be an athlete to enjoy the taste of an electrolyte-packed sports drink. Although designed to hydrate and replenish people who need to perform in physically gruelling sporting contests, they’re also made to be delicious. That’s thanks mostly to the sugar content, which is much higher than you would expect for a so-called athlete’s drink.
The sugar content has much the same effect as a normal soft drink. So, excessive consumption of sports drinks can lead to erosion of tooth enamel and other forms of tooth decay.
Unless you want to constantly hand over money for teeth whitening and colour restoration, it’s not a great idea to over-indulge in coffee. So many of us find it difficult to start the morning without a nice, hot cup of coffee, but the truth is that it can be quite harmful to your dental health.
Coffee and other dark drinks like red wine contain chromogens, which are dark pigments that attach themselves to your tooth enamel. This leads to discolouration and staining, and while there are treatments available, you can avoid that expense by cutting down on your coffee consumption.
Many people don’t realise that coffee is also highly acidic, meaning it can cause enamel erosion, just like many other sugary drinks. If you have sugar in your coffee, you’re increasing the risk of damage.
Take control of your dental health
You don’t need to completely avoid the drinks listed above, but they should be consumed in moderation. Rinse your mouth out with water after consuming these drinks, as this will help to remove some of the acids and stop them from building up on your tooth enamel. However, you should wait at least an hour after drinking before brushing your teeth because the effect of the remaining acids can be amplified by brushing.
If you’ve enjoyed a bit too much of these sugary drinks in your lifetime, your friendly Parramatta dentists are here to help. Contact us today and find out how we can help you regain the confident smile you want.