Choose Your Drink Wisely
These three types of popular beverages can impact oral health:
Fluoridated water deprivation may impact the lifelong dental health of children according to the American Dental Association. The majority of bottled waters on the market do not contain optimal levels (0.7–1.2 ppm) of fluoride. Be sure to check the fluoride content of your bottled water. Ask your dentist how much fluoride you and your family need for good dental health.
These drinks can contribute to decay and mineral loss in tooth enamel because of the high sugar and acid content in some of them. Excessive consumption of these beverages and their prolonged contact with teeth can be particularly harmful. Some tips to help protect your teeth:
- Limit consumption of sports drinks
- Dilute sports drinks with water
- Chill your drinks (warmer temperatures speed erosion)
- Don’t hold or swish drinks in your mouth; use a straw to reduce contact with teeth
- Rinse your mouth with water after drinking to minimize the strength of the drink’s acidity
- Chew sugarless gum after a drink to stimulate saliva
- Ask your dentist to check for early signs of decay (white spots, stained fissures, and brown spots)
Like sports drinks, these drinks have a high sugar and acid content, and their consumption should be limited. Bacteria in the mouth feed on sugar and make an acid that dissolves tooth enamel and could eventually lead to cavities. Even sugar-free diet sodas are not entirely safe, because they are acidic by nature. The tips that protect your teeth from sports drinks also apply to soft drinks.
Help your kids get excited about taking care of their teeth with the fun games and activities in Marshall Molar’s Kid Corner! Many topics also are available as downloadable flyers in our oral health flyers section.
Source: American Dental Association, http://ada.org/3048.aspx, accessed September 2011.