About Your Teeth Why to avoid these popular festive drinks? - About Your Teeth

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Why to avoid these popular festive drinks?

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Australians like a drink. And we especially love a drink or two (or more) during the summer festive season.

Not surprisingly, beer and wine are the two most popular alcoholic beverages for holidaying Australians. Whereas, the non-alcoholic drinks of choice to quench a summer thirst are soft drinks and canned iced teas.  But unfortunately, these types of drinks are seldom just a holiday ‘treat’, and are increasingly an everyday habit, which actually do little to quench our thirst and do a lot to harm our teeth.

What many may not know, is that these types of drinks damage tooth enamel, the protective shell around teeth. The part that safeguards our teeth against sensitivity to temperatures, meaning we can enjoy an iced-cold water with our piping hot roast turkey on Christmas Day pain free!

Dental enamel is the hardest substance in the human body. Yet, exposing this thin outer layer of the teeth to carbonated beverages, like sugar-free and ‘zero’ versions of fizzy drinks and sports and energy drinks that contain acid, weakens and permanently destroys the enamel.

More concerning is the finding of a 2004 study that investigated the effects on exposed healthy dental enamel to a variety of popular beverages over a period of 14 days. It found that non-carbonated drinks, including canned iced teas, were especially harmful to our tooth enamel. One of the main reasons for this may be due to the flavour additives, such as malic, tartaric and other organic acids, which are more aggressive at eroding teeth.

In a more recent study scanning electron microscope studies revealed that erosive foods and beverages have the potential to not only destroy dental enamel but degrade dental restorative materials over time.

So what can we try doing these Christmas holidays?

  • Cut down on the number of fizzy drinks and energy drinks consumed in one day – every time you have a sip, you start a brand new acid attack that lasts about 20 minutes.
  • Drink through a straw.
  • Wait an hour after finishing these types of drinks before brushing your teeth – acid in them temporarily softens your tooth enamel and brushing during this time can remove this enamel.
  • Avoid drinking these drinks before bed.
  • Swish water around your mouth after each bottle or can of drink.
  • Try treating soft drinks as a ‘treat’, just for special occasions.
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