If you were asked to name the healthiest thing you can drink, your answer would likely be water. An essential part of our health and well-being, it can also contain tooth-friendly fluoride when taken from the tap. For many, though, water can come across as a bit on the boring side. It isn’t the tastiest choice, and it doesn’t contain pick-me-ups like sugar or caffeine.
We all find ourselves indulging in tastier options than water, often too frequently, and when we’re led by our taste buds, our teeth can suffer. Here’s a list of drinks that you should limit or cut out entirely — your teeth will thank you for it.
Diet Soft Drinks
Everyone knows that sugary soft drinks can wreak havoc on your teeth, and many choose diet alternatives because of this. However, research is showing they’re not the healthy alternative they appear to be.
While you are limiting your sugar intake with diet soft drinks, you’re still exposing your teeth to very high acidity. High carbonation levels only make this worse. Also, if you’re drinking diet varieties of soft drinks, there’s a chance you can rationalize drinking more of it, accelerating the damage being done.
Citrus Fruit Juices
Fruit juices are marketed as healthy alternatives to sugary drinks, so it’s easy to add them to your shopping list. But these drinks, while having very high levels of sugar, also contain similar amounts of acids that eat away at your tooth enamel. Any fruit juice from the citrus family, such as orange, lemon or grapefruit, does significantly more damage than options made from apples or carrots.
While these juices can cause issues with tooth enamel, they’re undoubtedly healthier options than soft drinks. Just make sure to drink in moderation to balance out the benefits with the risks.
Sports and Energy Drinks
Whether you’re on the field or just need a boost of energy, sports and energy drinks have become a very popular alternative to water. However, just like fruit juices, these drinks have been found to contain exceptionally high levels of acids. Some brands have more acidity than soft drinks, and almost all contain as much sugar.
Sometimes it’s nice to unwind with a drink but keep in mind the risks it can bring to your dental health. Drinking alcohol leads to less saliva flow, which means your teeth have less protection against gum disease and tooth decay. And many drinks are made with sugar, compounding the problem.
Wine, in particular, has another effect — it is yet another option high in acidity. When combined with its dehydration effects, it can do more damage to your teeth than other alcoholic beverages. So remember that drinking in moderation isn’t just good for your brain. It’s good for your oral health as well.
If you need some caffeine in the morning, coffee may be an essential element to get you ready for your day. However, its high acidity is yet another contributor to tooth decay. And how many people drink it black or paired with milk and sugar? The sugar content can be extremely high, too, if you’re grabbing something from a coffee shop — a drink that’s loaded with caramel, whipped cream or other damaging substances.
While your safest bet is limiting yourself to water, we understand the powerful call for delicious, energizing alternatives. However, making efforts to drink them in moderation and in smaller portions will significantly contribute to a lifetime of healthy teeth.