Bottles with soft drinks, isolated on a white background

It’s something you hear on a regular basis – drink less soda. The well-meaning healthcare providers and experts asking that we put down the Coke have our health in mind – and also our smiles.

You know that soft drinks aren’t the best thing for your teeth – but some are actually much more dangerous to your enamel than others.

And surprisingly, soft drinks aren’t necessarily the most problematic drinks you could be imbibing – check out the study below to learn how something as seemingly innocuous as orange juice compares.

Why Some Beverages are So Harmful to Your Enamel

Our mouths already contain harmful bacteria that work in our favor to eat the sugars that we consume on a daily basis. These bacteria get working energy from the sugars we eat, but also have negative consequences like the harmful acids they produce in the process. This acid damages our teeth and allows cavities to form in their place.

Many of the sweetened beverages that people consume every day are loaded with sugar – even more sugar than you might initially think.

The recommended daily sugar intake is 25 grams or 6 teaspoons for women, and 37.5 grams or 9 teaspoons for men, and sugar should make up no more than 10% of your daily calories.

Ready for the shocking statistics?

One 12 ounce can of Cola contains 39 grams of sugar which is more than the daily recommended amount for both men and women.

If you think you’re better off drinking liquids that are thought of as “healthy” or “all natural” think again. A single glass of apple juice or orange juice contains a similar amount of sugar to a can of soda. This information is especially important to remember if you are one who treats your little one to a sippy cup of apple juice as a “healthy” substitution to soda.

Hidden Sugars In Everyday Foods

Another statistic you may not realize is that sugar is all around us, even in foods that you may not view as a sugary treat. Many commonly consumed foods are unknowingly the largest contributors of sugar in your diet including:

  • Low-fat food items
  • Marinades and barbecue sauces
  • Tomato sauce and ketchup
  • Yogurt
  • Oatmeal and cold cereals
  • Salad dressings
  • Protein and meal replacement bars

Becoming aware of which foods and drinks that have hidden sugars is the first step in making healthier choices for you and your family. By taking the time to read nutrition labels before consuming a product, you can achieve many health benefits you might otherwise be missing and make more health conscious decisions when it comes to eating and drinking.

So What Should I Be Drinking and Eating?

Because changes in your mouth happen the minute you eat certain foods, what you eat and drink, and how often are important factors in your oral health. Bacteria in your mouth converts sugars and carbohydrates from what you ingest into acids, and those acids begin to attack your enamel immediately.

Making the right food and drink choices can go a long way in protecting your tooth enamel, and provide the calcium and phosphorus needed to remineralize your teeth. These foods and beverages are thought to protect tooth enamel:

  • Cheeses
  • Chicken or other meats
  • Nuts
  • Broccoli
  • Spinach
  • Apples
  • Pears
  • Milk
  • Water
  • Plain sparkling water
  • Unsweetened tea

The more often you eat and snack, the more frequently you are exposing your teeth to the harmful cycle of tooth decay. Avoid day-long sipping of drinks containing sugar which exposes your teeth to constant sugar.

Safe Ways to Drink Acidic or Sugary Options

Swap any bad eating and drinking habits with these helpful tips to prevent further tooth decay:

  • Drink, don’t sip. Sipping gives the bacteria more time to eat the sugar and to create cavities. Drink quickly to give your body time to wash away the bad stuff. Try to drink sweetened coffees, teas or sodas in one sitting instead of sipping on them over a longer amount of time. If you give your child juice, have them drink it with meals only, and put only water in a sippy cup they might carry around during the day.
  • Fluoride is your friend. If your community’s water is fluoridated, drink tap water to improve your dental health. Fluoride protects teeth and has reduced the number of cavities across the nation.
  • Brush and clean between your teeth. Brush your teeth twice a day and clean between your teeth once a day. Ask your dentist about the best way to do this. Help all kids under the age of eight to brush and floss well, and be sure to visit to your dentist regularly.

Looking for more information on how you can implement these small changes into your daily life for better oral hygiene? Call us today to schedule a discussion at your next appointment.