Nutrition affects every part of your body, including your smile. Whether you’ve resolved to make better choices in the new year or your dentist has advised you to change your diet for healthier teeth, you’ll need to know some beverage basics. Here’s a helpful guide to how consumption affects your teeth and the best and worst drinks for oral health.
What You Should Know About Beverages & Oral Health
How Diet Affects Tooth Health
Your mouth is full of bacteria. Don’t be alarmed – this is normal, and some bacteria are good. Others, however, cause tooth decay. The bacteria feed on sugar, converting it to an acid that erodes teeth and results in cavities. Even if you brush and floss regularly and get biannual teeth cleanings, if you drink sugary drinks on a regular basis, you’re at high risk of developing cavities. Acidic beverages have a similar effect. Acid temporarily softens enamel, the protective coating on your teeth. Saliva remineralizes the enamel to restore balance, but if you consume these drinks often, there won’t be enough time for the tooth to repair itself. Over time, this results in permanent enamel mineral loss. On the other hand, fluids low in sugar and acid and high in nutrients like calcium and iron can improve your oral health by strengthening teeth.
Water is by far the best drink you can consume for overall health and wellness. Staying hydrated is crucial to bodily function and maintaining energy levels. It also helps your mouth produce adequate saliva to wash away bacteria naturally. Aside from water, milk and fortified dairy alternatives like soy and coconut milk are excellent options. Low-sugar vegetable juice is another wise choice, as it contains many nutrients, including calcium and vitamin B.
The worst drinks are those high in acid and sugar. Many mixed alcoholic beverages, fruit juices, and sodas taste sweet but are bad for your teeth. The citric acid found in many juices is also harmful. Diet sodas are no better than those with real sugar, as these contain chemicals that have a similar effect on enamel and gum health. Energy drinks are also highly acidic and can erode enamel even more quickly than sodas. Dark-colored and acidic liquids that contain tannins, such as coffee, tea, and red wine, can also lead to discoloration and staining. Limit consumption of these substances and use a straw to cut contact with your teeth.
In addition to a healthy diet, visit your dentist at least twice a year for a teeth cleaning and exam. When you need an appointment, turn to Smile Central Dental. Based in Paterson, NJ, they’re the community’s go-to center for experienced and gentle dental care. Whether you need an emergency dentist or orthodontics, they’ll keep your teeth clean, strong, and healthy. Call (973) 742-4200 to schedule an appointment or visit the website to learn more about how they’ll help your family.