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When people think about adopting a tooth-healthy lifestyle, they almost always think about food. After all, teeth chew food, so it makes sense.
It turns out, though, that what you drink is just as important, if not more so, when it comes to maintaining good oral health. When people think of horrible tooth care, they often think of just not brushing, flossing, and dental care.
Truth Be told, there are beverages that are horrible for your teeth that you should really stop drinking, or at least drink less of.
We drink dozens of different drinks every year, and, interestingly, they all have varying effects on oral health.
5 Beverages That Are Horrible For Your Teeth
Here are the effects of some of the world’s most popular beverages on the health of your teeth and gums.
If you’re somebody who hits the gym regularly, you’ve no doubt dabbled in sports drinks: beverages designed to give you an energy boost before and after a workout.
Sports drinks are usually low in sucrose – the most dangerous form of sugar associated with decaying teeth. That’s a good thing: you don’t want a lot of sugar in your diet, even if you’ve just been exercising. Overall, it’s bad for you.
However, sports drinks have a dirty secret: their high acid content. It turns out that thanks to the way that manufacturers make these drinks, they have a low pH. This acidity can then erode the hard enamel that covers teeth, making it easier for bacteria to penetrate the softer tissue within.
If you need an energy boost after a workout, try eating a regular meal, free from sugar. Don’t rely on nutrient-poor energy drinks to see you through the day. They won’t make you feel good.
Hear me out. I love my coffee…. It's literally the first thing I drink in the morning which is probably not a good thing, but it is. It's my elixir of life, my breath of life, my medication to not harm someone within the first 10 mins of my feet hitting the floor.
Coffee is the world’s second most popular drink after water.
Coffee can be problematic in two ways for your teeth.
The first is that it contains a lot of natural tannins: chemicals from the coffee plant that can stain your teeth. If you look at the teeth of chronic coffee drinkers, you’ll often notice that they are a brownish color due to the effect of the phytochemicals in the coffee drink. Over time, these compounds penetrate the enamel and get incorporated into the dentin beneath. Once this happens, it’s almost impossible to remove, unless you go for some serious, hardcore whitening treatment at the dentist.
Coffee is also a problem for another reason. The majority of people don’t drink their morning cup of Joe black. Instead, they add sugar, sweetened creamers, syrup to make it taste better. After all, regular coffee is a remarkably bitter drink, and not many like to drink it black.
Sugar, of course, leads to the buildup of acid in the mouth, which, in turn, causes tooth erosion, cavities, and tooth infection.
Fortunately, you can now get a host of sugar-free syrups to sweeten your coffee and avoid an unnecessary sugar hit in the morning.
Tea is something of a wonder drink. People who consume tea regularly without milk have a lower risk of developing oral cancer. Tea leaves, it appears, contain compounds that prevent the initiation and spread of cancerous cells.
Unfortunately, it’s not all good news on the tea front. Just like coffee, tea contains plant compounds that bury into the enamel and cause discoloration. While this change of color isn’t necessarily bad for health, it can affect your confidence.
The drinking of tea is a classic case of a lifestyle habit that has both costs and benefits. The benefit of regularly drinking tea is that you can improve your health and protect the sensitive cells that line the interior of your mouth. The downside is that it can make your teeth look yellow and brown over time.
The good news, however, is that there might be a solution: drink green tea. Green tea, unlike black tea, doesn’t contain so many of the tannin compounds that cause discoloration. While green tea can still stain your teeth to a small degree, the effect is likely much less than for the regular variety.
Don’t like green tea? Try oolong instead.
Hibiscus tea is one of the healthiest beverages on the planet, containing specific factors that reduce blood pressure and fight inflammation. It’s an incredible drink for anyone who wants to improve his or her health.
However, just as with regular black tea, there’s a cost. It turns out that hibiscus tea is one of the most acidic drinks on the planet. It is more acidic even than cola, meaning that it can damage the enamel of your teeth.
Hibiscus tea, however, is so good for the rest of your body that it seems a shame to miss out on it entirely, just because of its acid-eroding effects. Surely there’s a way to get the benefits while avoiding the costs?
It turns out that there is. And it’s pretty straightforward. You drink the hibiscus tea as usual and then wait for an hour or so before brushing your teeth.
The acid in the hibiscus tea will soften the tooth enamel, but as your saliva restores your teeth’s natural pH, the enamel will harden again. Thus, when you go to clean your teeth, you won’t be scraping soft enamel off the surface as you might if you brush them immediately.
I know I know, alcohol is my 2nd favorite drink, just after coffee. I have a mug that actually says “I'm only drinking coffee until it's an acceptable time to drink wine”
Alcohol is problematic for teeth for many reasons. from the sugar, to the other ingredients that help create the delicious batches of drinks.
Let’s start with red wine. For years, health professionals have told us that drinking red wine in moderation might be beneficial for health. The reason for this has to do with chemicals in the skins of grapes. These chemicals interact with cells and signal to them to behave as if they were younger, cutting the risk of a host of serious diseases. These same chemicals, however, are also what makes red wine a nightmare to clean up when you spill it on the carpet. Red wine stains the teeth over time, making them look browner than they should.
Other alcoholic drinks are also problematic. Drinks that contain sugar, for instance, can lead to tooth decay and loss. And alcohol itself can wear down the tooth enamel, making it more susceptible to sugar when you do eventually eat it.
It’s a good idea, therefore, to stick with water whenever possible. While teas are healthy, they can discolor your teeth. Getting your antioxidants from herbs and spices might be a better idea.