The sugar found in many beverages can be an ideal source of nutrition for oral bacteria, which can cause cavities and gum disease that would require treatment by your family dentist. Soda is probably the first sugary beverage that comes to mind for most people, but it’s certainly not the only drink that can harm your teeth. Energy drinks, chocolate milk, sweetened coffees and teas and fruit juices also will expose your smile to these potentially hazardous sugars.
If you want to protect your oral health, limit your consumption of these beverages. It’s best to turn to unsweetened alternatives, such as water (plain or sparkling), milk and unsweetened tea or coffee. When you do enjoy sweetened drinks, you can take a few steps to reduce the exposure to the sugar. Drink sugary beverages quickly. Sipping them will prolong the contact between the sugar and your mouth. Ideally, use a straw so that the sugary beverage bypasses most of the oral cavity entirely. If you have children, only fill a sippy cup with water. Save juice for a time when it can be consumed in one sitting.
Of course, good oral hygiene practices also offer a buffer against the effects of sugary drinks on your dental health. Even rinsing with water after you have a soda or fruit juice can be helpful in washing away any residue. Brushing twice each day and flossing daily will also keep your smile healthy, and don’t forget to see your family dentist at least every six months for professional cleanings and dental exams.
You may also want to consider fluoride to strengthen your teeth as another preventive measure. Your family dentist can give you periodic fluoride treatments, and in many communities, the water system is fluoridated, so drinking tap water gives your teeth a boost too.
For the best outcomes for your dental health, consider eliminating sugary drinks from your diet or enjoy them only occasionally. If you’d like more tips on how to protect your smile, contact our office or ask at your next appointment.