Is what I am drinking damaging my teeth?!?

28 April 2020

As Spring takes hold, Summer and the (hopefully) sunny weather is fast approaching, during this time we can often find ourselves drinking all throughout the day. It is so important to stay hydrated but you must choose how and what you drink carefully as we are constantly bathing our teeth in what we are drinking.

Our teeth are strong but they are not indestructible! Almost all of the popular drinks on the market are very high in acid, this can cause real damage to the enamel layer on your teeth and once it’s gone it cannot be replaced! Whilst there are treatments available, they will require significant intervention from your St. James dentist.

One of the major consequences of thinning enamel is that the dentine layer underneath starts to show through, if acid erosion takes place for long enough with enough it can wear through the enamel altogether.

Consequences of exposed dentine can include;

  • Yellow coloured teeth – dentine is naturally a darker of yellow shade where enamel is more white. This discolouration has serious cosmetic impliactions.
  • Dentine is very sensitive – whilst usually protected by the covering of enamel, once exposed can be painful to hot, cold, sweet, acidic or spicy foods. This can have a big impact on what you can eat and drink long term.
  • Dentine is also much softer than enamel, exposed areas are therefore much more susceptible to decay, tooth wear and loss of the tooth surface over time. This will leave your teeth looking smaller and can lead to serious problems if the pattern of wear continues.
  • We’ve put together a list of the best and worst drinks for acidity as well as some good tips on how best to avoid enamel erosion.

    Best drinks

  • Plain water
  • Plain milk
  • Plain tea or coffee (no sugar), we love these iced in the summer, so refreshing!
  • Worst drinks

  • Fruit juices
  • ANYTHING fizzy – including sparkling water!
  • Water with any flavours added
  • Alcohol, the worst being beer and cider, wine is slightly better with Gin coming in as the least acidic.
  • Our advice to help protect your enamel when you do choose to indulge in some of your summertime favourites;

  • Keep these drinks to mealtimes only and limit the frequency with which you are drinking them.
  • Try to always drink through a straw, this way the drink goes straight to the back of the throat and avoids ‘bathing’ all the teeth in the acidic liquid.
  • If you are on the go, where possible buy a canned version of your choice of drink. The tendency will be to drink it all down in one go rather than sipping it all day as you can do with a plastic bottle.
  • We hope you are managing to stay safe and well at what continues to be a difficult time. We are still here for any queries or questions you have regarding your teeth, treatment or general oral health so please don’t hesitate to contact us. Although we are still not permitted to see anyone for toothaches, PLEASE CONTACT US we are always here for advice and can refer you to a treatment centre if you need one.


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