Are you like millions of Americans in that you need a cup of coffee before you can function in the morning? Or maybe you’re of the opinion that it’s a mortal sin to eat pizza without a cold, refreshing soda. We’ve all heard about the myriad (and contradictory) ways that certain drinks can impact our health — is coffee good for us or not? — and it can be difficult to sort through what is true and what isn’t. When it comes to oral healthcare, though, the effects of drinks like coffee, tea, and soda are more widely agreed upon. Here’s what your dentist wants you to know:
Soda, Energy Drinks, etc.
Sweet drinks may be delicious, but they’re also some of the worst offenders when it comes to negative oral health effects. The bacteria that lives in the mouth loves to feed on anything sugary we consume — and those delicious carbonated beverages are rife with sugars. Any time you drink a soda, an energy drink, even sugary juice — including all-natural juice; natural sugar is still sugar — the sugar molecules stick to your teeth. And, since these are liquids, it’s easier for the sugar from your drinks to get into the cracks between teeth. Once there, the bacteria that lives in the mouth will feed on the sugars, converting it to acid. That acid will wear away at the protective enamel on the outsides of the teeth, especially if teeth aren’t brushed to remove the sugar shortly after finishing a soda. Weakening enamel opens up more opportunities for cavities to form, so the more frequently you consume sugary drinks, the more likely cavities become.
Coffee and Tea
Coffee and tea, unlike sodas, are not naturally sugary. However, both drinks have tannins. This naturally occurring ingredient is astringent, which is why drinks with tannins can taste dry or puckery — and yes, that means tannin-rich wines will have similar effects to coffee and tea when it comes to oral health. Essentially, the tannins stick to your teeth, and are what cause staining. If you’ve noticed that your teeth are slowly yellowing despite a strong oral care routine, it may be because of tannin-rich beverages in your diet.
Protecting Your Teeth and Gums
We know how hard it is to cut back on the coffee. While these drinks can be injurious to your oral health, you don’t need to give them up entirely to take care of your teeth. You can minimize stains by cutting back on your consumption, drinking through a straw, and drinking everything in one sitting instead of spreading a cup throughout the day. Skip cream and sugar as much as possible, as the sugars will exacerbate the effects. And, of course, make sure you’re assiduously attending to your teeth and gums! Brush for at least two minutes, and switch to an electric toothbrush if you drink a lot of tooth-staining beverages.
Regular check-ups and cleanings with your local dentist go a long way toward keeping your mouth in good help. Connect with Salvatore Dental to schedule your next dentist check-up in Malta and keep those coffee stains at bay!