About Your Teeth What drinks harm hard dental enamel? - About Your Teeth

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What drinks harm hard dental enamel?


As summer temperatures rise so will people’s thirst. Unfortunately, many people will grab a carbonated drink or iced tea instead of water. It isn’t just coke’s empty calories – about 150 per 350ml can – you should worry about. Many of these beverages harm enamel, the protective shell around teeth.

Exposing dental enamel to carbonated beverages and non-carbonated canned iced tea weakens and permanently destroys enamel. What drinks harm hard dental enamel? Fizzy, sports and energy drinks contain acid that attacks your enamel. This includes the sugar free and ‘zero’ versions of these beverages).

A 2004 study investigated the effects on exposed healthy dental enamel to a variety of popular beverages over a period of 14 days, found that non carbonated drinks as well as canned iced teas were especially harmful. These variant contain flavor additives, such as malic, tartaric and other organic acids, which are more aggressive at eroding teeth.

Every time you take a sip throughout the day, you start a brand new acid attack that will last 20 minutes. 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.

The increase in use of rehydrating drinks like Gatorade, V and Red Bull when used regularly and often, has resulted in a new group of dental patients presenting to their dentist with significant tooth erosion and wear.

What can you do

  • cut down the number of soft drinks/energy drinks you have in a day
  • drink through a straw
  • don’t brush your teeth for an hour after you have finished one of these drinks – acid in them temporarily softens your tooth enamel and brushing during this time can remove this enamel
  • don’t drink these drinks before bed
  • swish water around your mouth after each bottle or can of drink
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