Kambucha~ While we can’t really say it’s a new trend seeing as how it has been around for literally thousands of years, it has definitely had a resurgence lately. For those of you unfamiliar with Kambucha, it is according to Wikipedia, “a fermented, slightly alcoholic, lightly effervescent, sweetened black or green tea drink commonly intended as a functional beverage for its supposed health benefits. Sometimes the beverage is called kombucha tea to distinguish the name from the kombucha culture of bacteria and yeast”. I have had many friends jump head-first into the Kambucha craze with rave reviews and endless pro’s such as antioxidants, natural probiotics, and more!
Unfortunately, due to my dental background, I have to come and be a debbie downer to my Kambucha fanatic friends. While I have no medical or factual opinions about the health benefits, specifically gut health that Kambucha lovers tout, I do have some dental opinions. It is important to point out that Kambucha is fermented with sugar (although you can now find some brands that ferment with sugar substitutes). In fact, most bottles contain about 25 grams of sugar which is similar to most sodas. Drinking anything with a lot of sugar is hazardous to your teeth. In addition to the sugar, Kambucha is a strong acid. When dealing with strong acids there are 2 main issues that can arise: 1.) acid erosion 2.) cavities. These are due to the erosion of the enamel caused by repeated and prolonged exposure to the tea. The enamel will become thinner and thinner over time & if not corrected or stopped will eventually expose the dentin core structure of the tooth. This is understandably terrible on your teeth but it can also affect your existing dental work by breaking down edges and seals of fillings and crowns.
I am not saying that you must forsake your love of the fermented tea but there are some tips that could help you maintain your oral health in the process:
- Drink it fast. The biggest thing I tell my Kambucha drinkers is to never ever sip Kambucha all day. The less time it is exposed to your teeth the better.
- Rinse your mouth. Once you have drank the tea your teeth would greatly benefit from a quick rinse to get all of those acids and sugars off (you could even add a bit of baking soda to your rinse water to assist in neutralizing your mouth)
- Don’t brush right after. While rinsing and swishing your mouth out immediately after is suggested, you will want to wait at least 30 min before brushing to allow your saliva to help stabilize your enamel first.
- Skip the homemade Kambucha… there is no regulation on ingredients, acidity, sugars added, etc.
- If you are very susceptible to cavities you may want to avoid Kambucha all together.