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The effects of alcohol, soft drinks, and energy drinks, on your oral health

Many people are aware and have been for some time, the effects that carbonated sugary drinks can have on our health.

This awareness has lead to many fear campaigns and urban legends. Unfortunately, over time these fear campaigns have deafened people and made it harder and harder to spread clear, truthful messages about how substances such as soft drinks, energy drinks, alcohol, and even innocuous beverages like juice can affect your teeth and gums.

Your mouth is built tough. Think of all the times you’ve burnt your tongue, or split your lip, or bitten the inside of your cheek. Your teeth are even more resilient. With a protective layer of enamel and saliva, your teeth are built to endure the daily challenges of biting, grinding, and tearing food. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give your teeth all the help you can!

While sugar is one of the major causes of tooth decay, it is not the only thing that can damage your teeth. Sugar will damage teeth because it encourages and nourishes the growth of a certain type of bacteria that excrete acid. Over time this acid wears through the enamel and causes a cavity within the tooth.

Other acidic foods and drinks will do the same thing.

Many people associate tooth decay with sugary soft drinks. But, in fact, sugar-free beverages are just as bad because they have the same acid content. Sometimes the sugar-free route is actually worse because consumers feel like they are able to drink more due to the reduced caloric intake.

Similarly, alcohol, energy drinks, juices, and other beverages are just as bad. The acid and sugar content in all of these drinks is a painful combination when it comes to the health of your teeth.

Asking people to give up all acidic or sugary beverages would be unfair and pointless! Instead, we want people to start good habits when it comes to the drinks we consume.

Here are some good habits you can form:

Using A Straw

Such a small thing can make a huge difference! Sipping a drink through a straw limits the amount of contact the drink has with your teeth while still allowing you to enjoy your treat. A lot of people are making more environmentally friendly choices regarding their use of single-use plastics (such as straws) and choosing to go a greener route. This doesn’t mean you need to stop using a straw – check out a reusable stainless steel or glass straw that you can carry with you! Aside from being super environmentally friendly, you will always have your trusty straw with you if you decide to sip an icy cold can of soft drink on a hot day!

Don’t brush immediately after drinking carbonated or sugary drinks

When you drink a carbonated or sugary drink, your tooth enamel is weakened. Brushing immediately after a drink, while your teeth are still vulnerable can actually cause more damage. Wait a little while, somewhere between 30 minutes to an hour, and then brush your teeth.

Don’t drink carbonated or sugary drinks right before bed

Aside from making it harder to get a good night’s rest, drinking carbonated or sugary drinks right before bed will increase the damage to your teeth. The residual acid and sugar will sit in your mouth overnight, essentially stewing your teeth. Try to limit your consumption of carbonated or sugary drinks to a couple of hours before bed, and about an hour before brushing your teeth.

If you can, after drinking, drink a glass of water to help cleanse the mouth.

While you will still need to follow your normal oral hygiene routine, drinking a glass of water after carbonated or sugary drinks can help your mouth return to its normal PH balance faster. This will reduce the amount of time that your tooth enamel is vulnerable.

After all is said and done good oral hygiene combined with a balanced diet is always the best practice. Not only will your oral health benefit, but your overall health will too.

If you would like to know more or would like to book an appointment, contact our friendly team today!