If you’re on a mission to have a picture-perfect smile, you’ve probably wondered what steps you can take to improve your oral hygiene. While oral care like brushing your teeth, flossing daily, and rinsing with mouthwash are key components to a healthy smile, your diet is a major factor as well.
While you might think replacing sugary sports drinks and sodas with a sugar-free alternative is a great idea to prevent tooth decay and gum disease, that’s not always the case. Today we’re going to walk you through the negative effects of sugar-free drinks and how to protect your teeth.
Are Sugar-Free Drinks Better for Your Teeth?
It’s a common misconception that sugar-free drinks won’t negatively impact your oral hygiene. Although there is no sugar in these types of beverages, they can still cause damage to your teeth. Unlike sugary sodas and sports beverages, sugar-free drinks don’t directly lead to problems like cavities, but they are still known to weaken the enamel of your teeth. Weakened enamel makes you more susceptible to a variety of issues like cavities, stains, and tooth decay — which is not something anyone wants to deal with.
How Sugar-Free Drinks Affect Your Teeth
Many avid soda drinkers make the conscious choice to switch to sugar-free soda as a way to limit the damage being done to their teeth. Little do they know, sugar-free sodas and beverages can cause almost the same amount of damage to your smile. Sugar isn’t always the biggest culprit in these beverages. Most soft drinks, even the ones that are sugar-free, have different types of acids in the ingredients. Ingredients like phosphoric acid, citric acid, and tartaric acid will eat away at your tooth enamel, making you more prone to tooth decay and damage.
How to Protect Your Teeth
Drinking acidic beverages will gradually wear down the enamel on your teeth. But there are a few things you can do to help minimize the damage.
- Brush your teeth twice a day – It seems like common sense, but it’s easy to skip that nightly toothbrushing if you’re too tired and just want to hop into bed. Brushing your teeth in the morning and before bed is extremely important to help stop the spread of any of the acidic residue.
- Schedule bi-annual dental visit – You should be visiting your dentist for a professional cleaning twice a year to check on your teeth for signs of damage, cavities, and other problems to stop them before they get worse.
- Drink sugar-free drinks with meals – If you are constantly drinking sugar-free beverages throughout the entire day, it is more likely to cause irreparable damage to your enamel than if you were to drink them with your meals.
- Sip through a straw – By drinking beverages through a straw, you greatly minimize the amount of liquid that comes into contact with your teeth. This helps to keep your acid from directly penetrating through your enamel.
- Rinse your mouth after eating and drinking – In the best case scenario you would brush your teeth after every meal, but sometimes that just isn’t practical. When drinking acidic beverages or eating acidic meals, it’s a good idea to rinse your mouth out afterward to help rebalance the pH levels.
While reducing the number of sugary drinks from your diet can be a healthy choice overall, it doesn’t do much to protect your teeth from damage. Schedule regular professional cleanings and be mindful of the amount of acid in your diet to ensure you’re doing everything to maintain your oral hygiene.
For all dental concerns, Dr. Taylor offers preventative care, as well as non-metal fillings if you are experiencing tooth decay. To prevent or treat tooth decay, schedule an appointment with the leading cosmetic dentist in Billings, MT.