Mall of Georgia Dentistry's Blog

"Making you smile from the inside out"

Is your favorite beverage bad for your teeth? September 18, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mall of Georgia Dentistry @ 2:19 pm

Tooth enamel is a crystalline structure that is very hard but is easily weakened by acidic substances. Acids interfere with the chemical bonds that hold the the molecules of the enamel together. When the teeth are exposed to a lot of acidic substances for prolonged periods or with frequency, over time the enamel will dissolve. This is called acid erosion.
The most common culprits in acid erosion are beverages- many types of beverages are quite acidic. Check out the general average pH measurements of many popular drinks in the list below. The smaller the number, the lower pH and the more acidic; the larger the number, the higher the pH and the more alkaline. A neutral pH is that of regular water, which measures in at around 7 on the pH scale. Virtually all of these very popular beverages measure in with an acidic pH! But, as you can see, some are worse than others:

Unsweetened Tea 7.2
Water 7.0 (neutral)
Milk (2% or skim) 6.8
Chocolate Milk 6.7
Black Coffee 5.5
Root Beer 4.6
Tomato Juice 4.5
Beer 4.4
7-Up/Sprite 3.7
Juicy Juice 3.5
Red Wine 3.5
Apple Juice 3.4
Diet Cola 3.4
Orange Juice  3.3
Redbull 3.3
Mountain Dew 3.2
V-8 3.1
White Wine 3.3
Sweet Tea (bottled) 3
Gatorade 2.9
Dr. Pepper 2.9
Hawaiian Punch 2.8
Hi-C 2.7
Monster Energy 2.7
Lemonade 2.6
Coke 2.5

Drinks with a pH value of approximately 5.5 and below are implicated in acid erosion of the teeth. Drinks that are acidic and also contain sugar pack a double whammy because the sugar feeds the bacteria in your mouth that produce even more acid. This is why sodas and energy drinks are so widely maligned by dentists! Most of these beverages are very popular and a few of them are actually healthy other than their impact on your teeth, so it’s not practical to avoid them all day every day forever! But they should be consumed with care and within limits.

What steps can you can take to neutralize the impact these drinks have on your enamel and help mitigate acid erosion?
Drink with moderation. Only drink acidic beverages at mealtimes, or during limited timeframes, instead of sipping all day and creating an environment for your teeth that is one of continual exposure to acids.
Drink through a straw. The beverage is still going to lower/acidify the pH of the mouth temporarily, but using a straw can help reduce the amount of direct contact with the the majority of your teeth.
Drink water after. Drink or rinse the mouth with regular water after drinking an acidic drink to help dilute and neutralize the acid and wash it off of your teeth.
At Mall of Georgia Dentistry, we want to help you keep your teeth lasting a lifetime. Since daily habits are there impacting your smile all the time, education about the best and worst things for your smile is a key part of that. As always, if you have any questions or concerns, just call our office. Meanwhile… brush, floss, and smile!


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