What you drink and how you drink it can have a huge impact on your oral health. Here are some of the best and worst drinks for your teeth.
You don't have to completely cut out sugary drinks from your diet, but replacing some of them with these drinks can help keep your mouth healthy.
- Milk - Milk is full of proteins, vitamins, and proteins that are great for your health. Calcium and phosphorus help strengthen and repair tooth enamel, and vitamin D helps fight against gum disease by decreasing inflammation in your gums. Milk also contains the protein casein, which protects your enamel and fights tooth decay. If you're lactose intolerant, you can substitute almond milk with added calcium for similar benefits.
- Green or White Tea - All tea has antioxidants which help fight cavity-causing bacteria and reduce gum inflammation, but black tea can stain your teeth over time. Green and white tea provide these benefits without the threat of stains, and white tea is even a great source of additional natural fluoride. That said, you should be careful of how much sugar or honey your tea contains, because the harmful effects of sugar will counteract its other benefits.
- Water - Water flushes out food debris and dilutes the acid produced by the bacteria in your mouth. This helps prevent cavities by keeping your mouth cleaner. Most tap water also contains fluoride, which strengthens your enamel.
Most people are aware by now that coffee stains your teeth, but there are plenty more surprising drinks that are bad for your teeth. Try to limit your consumption of these beverages, and when you do, take steps to limit their effects on your oral health. For example: rinse with water as you drink, brush your teeth afterwards, drink quickly to reduce time of exposure, and drink through a straw to reduce the amount of liquid that touches your teeth.
- Soda - Soda is incredibly acidic and high in sugar, which means it erodes your enamel and feeds the bacteria in your mouth. This makes your teeth vulnerable to decay. Dark sodas may also stain your teeth over time.
- Alcohol - Alcohol causes dehydration and dry mouth. Drinking excessively leads to reduced saliva flow, which can cause tooth decay and other oral infections. Additionally, wine is acidic and has a negative effect on your enamel.
- Fruit Juice - This one may be surprising, because 100% juice can be seen as a healthy option with all its natural vitamins and antioxidants. However, juice also tends to be very acidic and sugary (natural sugars are still sugars). To reduce negative effects on your teeth, drink juice in moderation or water it down. Better yet, eat the fruits themselves; this will give you all the health benefits of the fruit without damaging your teeth.
- Sports Drinks - These drinks are advertised as a healthy option to rehydrate and replenish water after a workout. However, they are also very high in sugar and acidity, eroding your enamel and contributing to tooth decay. It's advisable to skip sports drinks and rehydrate with water as much as possible.
- Carbonated Water - Though this soda alternative contains much less sugar, the remaining carbonation means this drink is still highly acidic. In addition to the acidity causing erosion of enamel, carbonation also often leads to dry mouth. Reduced saliva protection further contributes to enamel damage.
- Coffee - Coffee is a leading cause of teeth stains, dry mouth, and enamel erosion because it is a huge part of daily routines for most Americans. In addition to the tips above, it is also recommended that you dilute the acidity of coffee by adding milk and avoid or reduce the use of sugar or sugary creamers.