Summer Snacks and Tooth Decay
Summer is here and it’s time for lazy days at the pool and beach. However, what comes with long, hot days of relaxation is sticky treats and sugary drinks. As much as we want you to keep you and your little ones hydrated, we want you to be conscious of the sugar and acid levels in your beverages and foods.
Needless to say, there is an immense amount of sugar in soft drinks and energy drinks. This sugar combines with bacteria to form a detrimental acid in your mouth that causes weakening of the tooth enamel. Weakening of the tooth enamel causes your teeth to be more prone to acid erosion and decay. We want you to be able to enjoy your refreshing summer drinks, but sparingly so. We also want to give you a few tips on how you can drink soft drinks and other sugary beverages and still minimize the likely hood that the acid formation will weaken your enamel.
First and most importantly, drink these drinks in moderation. Although energy drinks and certain electrolyte-enriched beverages may seem more refreshing and advertise that they are more hydrating, they are loaded with sugars and carbs. We do not recommend have multiple soft drinks, electrolyte drinks or energy drinks in one day. Secondly, do not sip on soft drinks or any sugary drinks for an extended period of time. If you must have them, finish them in one sitting. Do not let the sugar and acid rest on your teeth all day long.
Thirdly, when you do drink these sugary drinks, drink them through a straw. This will keep the sugar from having direct contact with your teeth. After drinking, take a sip or two of water. This will “rinse” the sugar away from your teeth. Lastly, never drink these drinks before bedtime. Having these liquids in your mouth before long periods of rest allows the sugar to harbor in your mouth, coating your teeth and tongue with sugar. Always, always, always brush your teeth afterwards!
However, even if you do choose a sugar-free drink, you may not be as safe as you think. We ask you to be conscious of those as well and always read labels! Where regular pop is high in sugar, sugar-free drinks are very high in acid. Both sugar and acid are detrimental to the enamel on your teeth. Acid in soft drinks, whether or not they are sugar-free, is the number one cause of weakening tooth enamel. When you drink, the acid attacks your teeth and lasts for about twenty minutes. So, when you are sipping on these drinks all day long, the acid is continuing to attack your teeth over and over again. If you choose these beverages, drink them in one sitting! Do not sip on them all day!
The best thing you can do to keep yourself hydrated is not with energy drinks or flavored drinks or water-It is good old-fashioned plain water. It has no sugar, no acid and no calories. Ice water is your best option not only for rehydration but for your oral and overall health as well.
As far as snacks go, stay away from anything processed or preserved. Go natural! Snacking on fruit and veggies is not only better for your teeth than sticky treats and candies, it’s good for your body as well. However, snacking on fruit all day does have its down side. Fruit is high in natural sugars and can also promote the erosion of your tooth enamel. We prefer that you snack on fruits and veggies, but want you to brush your teeth at least three times a day to remove the sugars and acids from the surfaces of your teeth.
It’s hot out there! We want you to stay hydrated and healthy, so make wise choices with your drinks and treats!
For more information about acid erosion and tooth decay, we encourage you to use the following sources: