Even though teeth are the strongest bones in our bodies, they can be negatively affected by what we drink. Excess intake of beverages that are highly acidic can wear down tooth enamel and cause tooth decay. Unfortunately, many of our favorite drinks are highly acidic and can cause damage over time. Acid levels are measured on the pH scale, and the lower pH a drink has, the more acidic is. A neutral pH level is 7, and drinks that have under a 5.5 pH level can start to have negative effects on your teeth.
Below is a list of the top most acidic drinks that you should avoid, and healthy alternatives that aren’t damaging to your teeth.
Soda pop is one of the most acidic drinks on the market. Pop not only has a high acid concentration, but it also high in sugar, causing even more damage to your teeth. Bacteria in the mouth turn excess sugar into acid that wears down tooth enamel. Most pops have a pH of 3 or lower which is extremely damaging to teeth overtime.
Although most people would think fruit juices are healthy, they are actually highly acidic and contain a lot of sugar. Most fruit juices on grocery store shelves have added sugar, which can generate more tooth decay. Eating whole fruits are better for your teeth and overall health. Most fruit juices have a pH lower than 3.
Sports drinks, such as Gatorade and Powerade, can also have significant negative effects on your teeth. Although they help in re-hydration, they are also highly acidic and can cause tooth enamel to wear down. Most sports drinks have a pH of 3 and lower, and also contain high levels of sugar, which can lead to more cavities and tooth decay.
Most alcoholic beverages have high acidic levels and are damaging to tooth enamel. Wine, beer, and hard liquor all have a pH balance of around 4 and lower. Wine is more acidic than beer, with sweet wines being the most acidic. Alcohol can be especially damaging when paired with other acidic drinks, such as pop and fruit juices.
Coffee is another drink that you might drink daily that could be damaging your teeth. Not only does coffee cause discoloration, coffee has acidic levels that can lead to tooth decay. Coffee is especially damaging for those who add a lot of sugar to their cups.
Healthy Drink Alternatives
Even though most of our favorite beverages are highly acidic, there are several alternatives that can limit tooth decay. Water, especially fluoridated water, is the best alternative to acidic, sugary drinks. Water has a neutral level of acidity, which won’t cause damage to tooth enamel. Unsweetened tea is also a good alternative, especially if you’re looking for a caffeine kick. Acidic levels in natural teas are lower than coffee, causing less damage. Milk is also a healthier, less damaging beverage. Milk contains high amounts of calcium, which can actually protect and strengthen tooth enamel.
The more you consume acidic drinks, the higher chance you have at suffering from tooth decay. You don’t have to completely cut these beverages out of your diet to steer clear of tooth decay, but rather enjoy in moderation. Switching to healthier alternatives can help limit tooth decay and cause better oral and overall health.