Fancy Feasts and Drinks
It’s that time of year once again. We’re all looking forward to filling our bellies to the brim with turkey, stuffing, and more. Of course, you know that with food and desserts comes the need to stay on top of your oral hygiene routine. Speaking of eating a ton of yummy food, what about our favorite beverages? If you find yourself pairing your Thanksgiving feast with a drink, you’ll want to get the interesting facts about beverages and your teeth.
Carbonated Drinks and Your Teeth
Even if your carbonated beverage is sugar-free, there’s still some concern when it comes to your teeth. This is because carbonated beverages are acidic, which can pose a threat to your teeth. Acidic beverages (and even foods) wear down on the outer layer of your tooth, which can ultimately contribute to tooth decay. We can tell how acidic a beverage is by looking at its pH. The higher the pH, the safer it is for your teeth. Water, for example, has a pH of about 6 or 7 depending on the type of water. Compare that to sparkling water, which has a pH of 5, or even soda which gets to a much lower pH of about 2.5. You can view a full chart here to determine how your favorite drink compares in the ranks.
Sugary Drinks and Teeth Dangers
Acidity has a partner in crime, and its name is sugar. Sugar is often found in beverages like soda, juices, eggnog, and sports drinks. The problem with sugar is that it causes more acids to attack your teeth due to its ability to interact with the bacteria in your mouth. Tooth decay can result, especially when we frequently turn to sugary drinks for a quick sip. Oh, sugar. You’re so tasty, yet so dangerous.
Coffee, Tea, and Teeth
It’s true that beverages and teeth have a troubling relationship. Our beloved drinks named coffee and tea are no different. Coffee and tea are notorious for staining teeth. These beverages contain what are called tannins. You can count on tannins to make color compounds cling to your teeth. Discoloration happens as a result, so when you look at your teeth in the mirror, you may notice some darker spots on your white teeth. Although regular brushing won’t be able to get rid of the stains, a cleaning from your dentist or dental hygienist will get those pearly whites looking… well, white again!
Alcohol and Teeth
Thanksgiving often becomes the time to bring out the fancy wines and beers to pair with the special occasion. It may also seem like a good choice if Uncle Herman decides to talk politics again. Oh, Uncle Herman. Not again. The truth is that alcohol is an acidic beverage and often contains sugar. To make matters even more problematic, alcohol is known for causing dehydration and dry mouth. When your mouth is dry, an environment is created that allows bacteria to thrive. That said, it’s okay to enjoy a glass or two, but take extra steps to make sure you’re staying on top of your hydration and oral health routine.
The Biggest Concern with Beverages
When it comes to beverages, we tend to sip from our cups and glasses time and time again, often several moments apart. However, the acid levels in your mouth change every time you take a drink. It takes about 20-30 minutes for the acid levels to return to normal again. So, wait?! If we are constantly drinking, this means that our teeth have to put up a fight against the acids that attack over and over again. What’s a person supposed to do when they want to love both their favorite beverages and teeth?
Fighting Back with a Plan
There are a few things to do when it comes to keeping your teeth healthy while still enjoying your favorite Thanksgiving drinks. The first is to enjoy your beverage with a meal. Eating while drinking a beverage will generate saliva, which can help keep acids off of your teeth. The next recommendation is to make sure you are drinking plenty of water before, during, and after your meal. Water can help rinse your teeth. Plus, a hydrated body will be better off in producing saliva, which is a great way to clean those teeth. Of course, remember to brush and floss your teeth. We recommend rinsing your mouth with water right after you finish your drink. After 30 minutes have passed, go ahead and brush. This way, your mouth has a chance to return to its proper pH level. By following these tips, you can get the best of both worlds for your favorite beverages and teeth.
Maybe you’ve had too many sugary and acidic beverages, and it’s showing on your teeth. Contact us today so that we can help you find your healthiest smile this holiday season.