Are carbonated drinks bad for your teeth?

Are Carbonated Drinks Bad For Your Teeth - Mount Franklin Lightly Sparkling

Are carbonated drinks bad for your teeth? New alternative (i.e. sugar free / limited) soft drinks have hit the market recently. These drinks are shifting the way we think about traditional sugary ‘rot your teeth’ drinks. We can place ‘classic’ soft drink / soda on one side and newer ‘lightly sparkling no sugar’ drinks as the other.

Are Carbonated Drinks Bad For Your Teeth - Mount Franklin Lightly Sparkling
Are Carbonated Drinks Bad For Your Teeth – Mount Franklin Lightly Sparkling (source: amazon.com.au)

Usually there are two things in soft drink that will cause harm to our teeth:

  • First issue is sugar – bacteria in our mouths metabolise this sugar and produce acid as a by product which in turn causes tooth decay – more sugar equals more decay. The solution to this is to avoid drinking sugary drinks (this is good for your health anyway and starves bacteria of food source) and avoid exposure of the sugar to our teeth (be sure to rinse thoroughly with water afterwards).
  • The second issue you’ll experience from drinking soft drinks is acid wear; the PH scale measures how acidic or basic something is. A 7 is a neutral result (i.e. the same as water), and less than 7 is acidic (e.g. lemons).

More about PH Scales

A PH scale of more than 7 is basic (like bicarb soda). Our saliva has a ph of 7.4 – anything with a PH of 5.5 or less is so acidic that it will dissolve our teeth. The more acidic the quicker it dissolves. Lemons have a PH of 2, cola 2.5 and sparkling water has a PH level of approx 4.5-5.5 depending on brand. So sparkling water is definitely less dissolving potential than cola, but still more than water. You can minimise the affect of acid on your teeth by having less acidic drinks (more waters), lessening exposure (drink through a straw) or making sure you don’t brush your teeth 30 mins or so after drinking or eating acidic drinks or anything really aside from water.

Carbonated drinks and your teeth: key takeaways

Realistically, moderation here is key, with the newer age drinks. If you are sensible and drink 1-2 a day (thus minimising long term exposure to the slightly acidic drink) through a straw and wait 30 mins before brushing you’ll be fine. These sugarfree sodas are a great new age solution for a refreshing drink. For soda/soft drink sadly – there’s never really a great time to drink them – especially if you can tolerate these newer drinks.

Any questions? Please feel free to contact us or make an appointment with the friendly team at Polished Dental.

Baby Bottle Decay (Early childhood caries)

Baby Bottle Decay (Early Childhood Caries)

Baby Bottle Decay (Early childhood caries)

We’ve noticed that quite a few of our patients coming in are bringing in cute little babies too! Let’s take a look at some of the dangers baby bottle decay (aka early childhood caries) can create.

We quite frequently get asked ‘is there anything I need to worry about with newborns’ teeth?’

The one issue that newborns’ parents need to keep in mind is baby bottle decay (Early childhood caries). This commonly occurs in the top front teeth and can also affect others and starts when baby’s teeth are exposed for a long time to sugar – allowing bacteria to metabolise the sugar and cause decay.

The two things we can control then are – the bacteria in bub’s mouth and bub’s exposure to sugar. The bacteria is in all adults but not in young babies. Babies will inevitably get introduced to the bacteria but lessening the load can reduce the risk of decay. For that reason it’s best to try to not share eating utensil like spoons with bub for the first few months.

Reducing sugar is also the other way to lessen the risk of decay. This includes avoiding putting sweet drinks like juices into bottles and avoiding using bottles as a pacifier. Both of these aspects lead to bubs having long term exposure to sugars on teeth and together with the metabolising bacteria can cause decay in bub’s teeth.

Baby Bottle Decay (Early Childhood Caries)
Baby Bottle Decay (Early Childhood Caries) (source: @invent via unsplash.com)

A few tips to keep in mind when caring for bub:

  • Try not to share utensils like spoons and licking dummies.
  • After a feed, wipe your bub’s gums with damp gauze or washcloth
  • Remember to brush bub’s teeth when they first come in, and regularly every day after to enforce good habits with a non-fluoridated toothpaste.
  • Avoid filling bottles with juice – stick with breast milk, formula or water
  • Although hard to control, try to finish a feed and wipe over the mouth before putting bub to bed.
  • Don’t dip dummies into sugar or honey

A good time to bring bub into the dentist is when the first teeth start appearing so we can run through with you how to look after and clean bub’s teeth!

Naughty or nice?

Can you guess which of these foods are naughty or nice?

 Although some may seems obvious, some of these foods are sneakily a lot worse than the usual suspects. Which ones can you get right?

Naughty or Nice?

Dairy 

Most dairy is also quite good for you but milk is quite sugary to begin with so there is a ‘naughty’ option here – can you guess which one?

  • Yoghurt
  • Cheese
  • Plain milk
  • Flavoured milk (BAD these have very high amounts of sugar and as a general rule we advise avoiding flavoured milk in your diet).

 Vegetables and Fruit

Fruits and vegetables are generally quite good for your teeth but there’s one big exception – do you know which one it is?

  • Broccoli
  • Carrot
  • Pears
  • Apples
  • Citrus Fruit (Oranges, Lemon, Lime) (BAD – these citrus fruits are highly acidic and will increase erosion and wear on your teeth).

Teas

These seem like they’re probably bad for your teeth, right? Well, not necessarily. They can be naughty or nice. Green and black teas contain polyphenols which can kill/hold back bacteria. You can also get fluoride from your tea depending on your local water supply…

  • Black and green tea
  • Be wary of staining if you drink too much tea/caffeine.

Chips

Seems like the salt and fat would be worse for your body rather than your teeth, but that can be misleading:

  • Potato  Crisps (can get trapped between your teeth)
  • Corn chips (can get trapped between your teeth)
  • One of the main causes of tooth decay as not as obvious as sugars. Even though the crisps aren’t sweet, they do get broken down into sugars.

 Medications

  • Asthma puffers decrease saliva flow so be careful with these.

Chewing gum

Since it helps create saliva it should be good, but a lot of gum on the market has sugar added to it, causing the same old problems for your teeth:

  • Sugarfree extra
  • Sugar gum (BAD – too sugary)
  • PK (BAD – too sugary)
  • Hubba bubba (BAD – too sugary)

What Next?

Here are a few things to remember if you are going to eat sugary foods :

  • Eat them with a meal. Your increased saliva will reduce the acidity of the sugar.
  • Drink more water, preferably with fluoride in it (if you’re buying bottled water check the label to see if fluoride is included)
  • Brush twice daily, after meals.
  • Floss once daily.

Thanks for reading, and we hope to see you down at Polished Dental for your next checkup! Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions about sugar and its impact on teeth, or want to come up with a plan to try and minimise the sugar you’re consuming.