Billions of people consume sugary or sweetened beverages every day throughout the world. Sweetened beverages have become so popular here in America that vending machines and “super-sized” drinks are available on almost every corner in cities throughout the United States. The truth is, while these beverages are tasty, they are not healthy – especially for your teeth. Millions of bacteria are present inside your mouth every day. These bacteria eat the sugary particles left behind inside your mouth after you consume sugary foods and drinks. While these bacteria want to help rid your mouth of sugar, they produce acids as they attack the sugars. The acids they produce cause damage to the teeth and gums, causing cavities, erosion, and gum disease to occur.
Soft drinks are the worst beverages for your teeth. As well as containing high amounts of sugar, they also contain acids that cause erosion of the tooth enamel. Once tooth enamel is eroded, it cannot be replaced. Avoiding soft drinks is highly advisable for maintaining a healthy smile. It is also important to note for those who are more “health-conscious” that when it comes to choosing beverages, it requires more than just staying away from sodas. Juice, even “all-natural juice,” has a high sugar content. An 8-ounce glass of apple juice has the same equivalent of sugar as an 8-ounce glass of soda! Just one glass of sugar-filled soda or juice will put most people at their entire daily sugar limit.
Water is the best beverage for your body and your smile. Unsweetened tea, milk, and diluted juice (50% juice, 50% water) are also good choices. By choosing drinks with little to no sugar means the bacteria inside your mouth won’t have a chance to produce excess amounts of acid.
If you find it hard to resist sugary beverages, it is vital that you practice optimal oral health care. Brushing multiple times a day and flossing daily will help keep your teeth clean. You will also want to drink, not sip, your sugary beverages. You want to give bacteria the least amount of time to damage your teeth.
Good habits affect your entire life. Choosing wisely what you drink and how you care for your teeth will allow you to have a healthier smile for life.