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Sugar Tooth: 3 Drinks That are Detrimental to Your Oral Health

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Taking care of your oral health doesn’t start and stop with your morning and bedtime routines. While it’s important to brush and floss regularly, keeping your mouth clean is only a small part of taking good care of your teeth. After all, you only spend ten minutes, tops, cleaning your teeth. What you do with the other 1,430 minutes of your day has an impact on your oral health, too.

Case in point: as human beings, we’re wired to slake our thirsts by drinking. But what you choose to drink can either be gentle on your teeth or devastating to them. Here are three drinks that wreak havoc on your dental health. Before you begin reading, we’d like to say that we’ve left soda off the list. We’re pretty sure you already know drinking soda is bad for you.

1. Juice

Juice has long held an undeserved reputation for being healthy. It comes from fruit, though, right? That means it’s all natural and bursting with vitamins, right? Wrong. Oftentimes there are still significant amounts of sugar in juice that makes it a rather unhealthy beverage choice. This isn’t just bad news for your waistline. Sugar is poisonous to your teeth. It isn’t very good for your body in general and often makes people feel sluggish and without very much energy. While it may be mistaken for a healthier option, that may not always be the case. If you’re concerned, just take a look at the labels and make sure that you’re aware of what you’re really drinking.

2. Alcohol

If you like to end the day with a martini or a glass of bubbly, we have bad news for you. Alcohol affects your teeth in three ways. First, if you have a preference for red wine, dark liquor or you like to mix spirits with soda, you’re bombarding your teeth with chromogens, says Healthline. Chromogens are what give drinks color and they can stain your teeth. You can minimize this effect by drinking white wine, beer or clear liquor. Also, any type of alcohol is acidic and contains a great deal of sugar. Sugar, as we know, causes tooth decay, and acids eat away at your tooth enamel. Lastly, alcohol dries out the mouth. Saliva cleans bacteria and plaque from your teeth. Without it, your teeth are susceptible to bacterial infection and erosion.

3. Sports and Energy Drinks

This one may surprise you. The fact is, even if sports or energy drinks are sugar-free, they still have so much acidity that they can cause permanent damage to your tooth enamel. A study discussed by WebMD found that energy drinks are slightly worse for your teeth than sports drinks are. Exact acidity levels vary depending on the brand and the flavor. Experts say drinking even one a day can damage your teeth.

In addition to making wise choices about what you drink, think about how much time you spend drinking. Sugars, acids and chromogens are more harmful when they spend a lot of time in contact with your teeth. Not only does prolonged exposure hurt your teeth, it disrupts the pH of your saliva, which is naturally formulated to keep your teeth clean and your mouth moist.

Are you questioning your own drinking habits? Your best bet is to talk with a dentist at a professional practice like this cosmetic dentistry, Cottage Grove MN. Your dentist can give you tips and suggestions based on your own oral health and personal habits. Until then, remember this: good, old-fashioned water is the safest beverage on the planet. Bottoms up.