Many of us understand that consuming too much sugar can result in a variety of harmful effects on your teeth and on your body as a whole. Sugar itself isn’t the problem — it’s the bad bacteria that eat the sugar, and those bacteria secrete an acidic byproduct that breaks down enamel, creates cavities and can potentially lead to gum disease.
However, we’re now facing a new challenge when it comes to carbonated beverages. There’s been a massive paradigm shift in our country from regular soda to diet drinks and sparkling water.
Sparkling water products like LaCroix, Bubly and Perrier are becoming increasingly popular as a way to quench thirst and enjoy new flavors.
The reality is that the acidity level of these beverages are not good for your teeth. At Dental Arts, we have truly honed in on this acid debate by pH testing the mouth of every new patient. With more and more brands and flavors popping up in the market, it makes sense to delve deeper into the potential health hazards of this new wave of bubbly beverages.
Here’s why you should not reach for that can of ice-cold sparkling water.
The oral cavity is fascinating in that it aims to maintain a neutral pH of 7 at all times due to the buffering properties of saliva. However, when the pH of the mouth drops below 5.5, also known as the critical pH, dental cavities form.
The bacteria involved in dental decay thrive in an acidic environment. Furthermore, a mouth constantly bathed in acid promotes tooth erosion, which wears away the enamel — the hard outermost surface of the tooth. With a decrease in enamel, teeth become highly sensitive, discolored, and are more susceptible to dental cavities.
Needless to say, acidic beverages are detrimental to the oral cavity. Flavored carbonated waters like La Croix (pH 2.7) cause an acid double whammy due to the acidic properties of both the fruit flavorings and the carbonation itself.
We’re not saying you have to eliminate these drinks from the diet entirely, but please be careful with when and how often you drink them. For example, do not sip or swish them throughout the day. If you absolutely must drink them, do so while eating a meal. When you eat, your saliva production is at an all-time high because your mouth is attempting to combat the acid levels.
Don’t forget about bottled water!
Many of the popular bottled water brands are acidic. Smartwater, Dasani and Aquafina all have a pH of 4. Fiji and Evian both have a pH of 8 and are considered alkaline.
When it comes to drinking water, your best bet is good old-fashioned tap water due to its alkaline properties and fluoride, which reduces tooth decay by as much as 60%.
If you want to learn more about dental hygiene and harmful foods/drinks, or if you would like to get more information on local dentistry in New Orleans in general, please contact us.
Dental Arts is a full-service general dentistry and orthodontic practice for the entire family. For more than three decades, we have been providing the highest quality dental and orthodontic care available to the residents of New Orleans. Explore the Dental Arts difference today.