Everyone needs to drink beverages to survive and thrive. Water keeps us hydrated, while other beverages give us a caffeine boost, provide us with servings of fruit, or serve as a social bonding agent. However, each beverage plays a different role in oral health, and it’s important to understand the impact they have.
The impact of drinking water on your oral health
Since the human body is 60% water, staying hydrated is crucial to overall health. Adequate hydration helps to facilitate saliva production and wash away debris from your teeth. As saliva is 99.5% water, water is particularly instrumental in preventing your mouth from drying out.
Additionally, water fortified with fluoride helps to strengthen your teeth and fight cavities. Drinking water fortified with fluoride can help you save time and expense in dental treatments in the long run.
The impact of milk on your oral health
Milk and other dairy products play essential roles in helping to build and maintain strong teeth and bones. Dairy products can also help reduce tooth decay.
While the calcium and phosphorus in dairy products help to keep teeth healthy, dairy-based proteins called caseins also play an important role. Caseins help to form a protective film over the enamel on the surface of your teeth. This protective layer helps to prevent bacterial acids from damaging your teeth.
Different types of beverages that can affect your oral health
While water and milk are both beneficial to your oral health, other beverages have more mixed effects. If you are located in Surrey and feel that you may benefit from discussing the merits of different beverages on oral health with a dentist, seek out a dentist in Staines.
Regular soft drinks feature high amounts of sugar. As such, they can contribute to the development of dental caries if consumed frequently. Harmful bacteria feed on the sugars in soft drinks and produce acids that corrode tooth enamel. Soda’s high sugar content is coupled with a high acid content, which lowers the mouth’s pH and compounds soda’s corroding effects.
Diet soft drinks are often considered to be a healthier option, as they are lower in both calories and sugars. However, they still have a high acid content and can lower the mouth’s pH, making your teeth more vulnerable to dental caries.
While sports drinks can be a good addition to a long workout due to their ability to replenish electrolytes, they can compromise your oral health. Most sports drinks have a high sugar content and a more acidic composition. This means that, when consumed in large quantities, their effects on oral health can be similar to those of sodas.
100% fruit juices have mixed effects. While their sugar comes from a natural source, it’s still sugar, and it can wear away at your teeth. Some juices are more acidic than others. Lemon juice and orange juice are amongst the more acidic fruit juices. The low pH of these fruit juices can impair your saliva’s ability to prevent dental decay.
However, fruit juices can also have several positive oral health effects. Juices with high Vitamin C, for example, can help improve the oral immune system. Its anti-inflammatory effects can help protect against gingivitis and periodontal disease. Simultaneously, Vitamin C helps to facilitate wound healing and collagen synthesis. It also acts as an anti-toxin, which protects against toxins produced by bacteria.
In short, fruit juice can help and hinder. To circumvent some of the adverse effects, brush your teeth regularly. If you can, brush your teeth shortly, but not immediately after consuming a significant quantity of fruit juice. That way, you can wash away the sugars but enjoy the health benefits of Vitamin C.
Fruit-flavoured drinks are certainly tasty in moderation, but in excess, they have the same pH-lowering effects. They also tend to be full of sugar which is harmful for your oral health.
While many vegetable juices are acidic and can increase the risk of dental erosion, they are, in general, less acidic than fruit juices, and certainly less acidic than many sodas. They also boast a high vitamin content.
Over 50g of alcohol per day or frequent binge drinking episodes can contribute heavily to dental erosion and has been linked to increased oral cancer risk. Many varieties of alcohol are also high in sugar and highly acidic.
Coffee and tea can both contribute to and damage oral health. The tannins present can help reduce plaque formation and fight carcinogenic substances found in other foods and beverages. Black tea can promote fluoride mineralisation, and tea’s polyphenols inhibit the growth of bacteria that cause bad breath.
However, frequent tea and coffee consumption can stain your teeth. Also, if you add honey or sugar to your coffee or tea, those sugars can contribute to the development of dental caries.
How to maintain your beverage intake
When you’re trying to balance your beverage intake in the name of oral health, consider the type of beverages you consume and the frequency and quantity with which you drink them. Moderation is key, and there’s no need to cut all sugary drinks out of your life for good.
However, try to brush your teeth or rinse your mouth soon after sugar consumption to help your saliva protect your enamel. Saliva is your mouth’s protective buffer, and anything you can do to help it out will contribute to good oral health.
Beverages may play a large role in oral health, but dietary balance and good oral hygiene play a more significant role in your dental health in the long run. If you are located in Surrey and wish to know more about your dental health, search for a Staines dental practice. A dentist can help you strike the balance of hygiene, diet, and beverage consumption that will be most optimal for your individual needs.