The variety of beverages available today is extensive. Many of them have negative nutritional value making them an unwise choice. Your dentist will caution you about consuming sugary beverages … they promote dental decay so they should be limited to special occasions.
Some of the sugary beverages to avoid include soda, sweetened coffee or tea, lemonade, sports drinks, juices, and chocolate milk. Cold beverages that contain sugar should always be consumed using a straw … this allows much of the beverage to bypass teeth. Never swish a sugary beverage.
What happens when you drink a beverage that contains sugar? The mouth is already laden with bacteria that clings to teeth. When sugary or high carbohydrate foods or beverages are consumed, they promote bacteria growth on teeth producing damaging acids.
Acids lead to enamel erosion … when the protective enamel coating on teeth is permeated a cavity can form. If the cavity is deep or bacteria impacts the dental nerve, the patient may require a root canal to save the tooth.
The ideal alternative to sugary beverages is water (tap water is best as it contains fluoride, a mineral that works to strengthen dental enamel). Unsweetened tea or coffee, sparkling water, milk (milk contains calcium that supports dental enamel and promotes strong teeth), or diluted juice are better options than those that are sugar laden.
If you do drink one of these sugary beverages, make sure to drink it quickly. Don’t sip it over an extended period of time. If you should drink a beverage that contains citrus, do not brush your teeth for at least an hour following consumption. Citrus softens dental enamel and brushing too soon can damage teeth.
Make sure you follow your dentist’s advice … brush at least twice every day with a fluoridated toothpaste. Invest in a timer or electronic toothbrush so you will brush the recommended two minutes every time you brush.
Floss your teeth at least once a day to remove what your toothbrush missed; when flossing is done correctly your gum tissue will be invigorated.
Visit your dentist every six months for a thorough cleaning, polishing, and dental exam. Your teeth will look their best, and regular visits with the dentist will allow any dental problems to be diagnosed and treated before they have a chance to escalate into costly or time consuming treatment.
Contact the office of Dr. Lori Logan to schedule your next visit.