Coffee, Tea, Flavored and Carbonated Waters!April 16, 2019
It is common knowledge that sugary drinks can lead to tooth decay near La Grange, IL. But what about the other beverage options available on the shelves of our grocery stores? I frequently hear from patients that they don't drink sugary beverages, instead they drink flavored waters, diet (sugar free) soda, or a sugar alternative in their coffee. People are used to looking for sugar in the list of ingredients on food labels. What about our more modern day beverages such as coffee, tea, flavored and carbonated waters?
Many synthetic sweeteners eventually are taken off the market once studies question their safety. Regardless of the sweetener used in beverages near La Grange, IL, acidity can be just as detrimental to teeth. People incorrectly assume that simply adding a flavor or carbonation doesn't change water. It does. Even the most inoculous ingredients change the pH of the water. Any time we eat or drink something other than water our mouths become acidic. The bacteria that cause decay are more virulent in an acidic environment and therefore excrete the acids that decay teeth. Combine that with a beverage that is already acidic and we have trouble!
It takes a mouth with a healthy salivary flow approximately 20-30 minutes to regulate the pH back to normal and recover from the "acid attack". The frequency in which we expose ourselves to these "acid attacks" must be considered. Many medications can decrease salivary flow which lengthens the amount of time it takes the mouth to recover from the acid attack.
One of my personal, all time favorite dental campaigns was the "Got Rot campaign from ISDS". This campaign focuses on educating the public about the acid levels of common soft drinks. The brochure (pictured below) shows a chart of popular soft drinks along with their pH level. At the bottom of the list note the pH of battery acid! It effectively puts things in perspective.
As you can see, some of the above beverages have no sugar. Even Barq's root beer with the highest pH of 4.61 is far below the neutral pH of 7 and places your teeth in that dangerous acid attack zone.
So what is the bottom line? Water is best.