When you think about tools for proactively strengthening and protecting your teeth, you likely think about toothbrushes, toothpaste, and floss. But you may be missing another powerful ally in the fight against tooth decay: your choice of beverages.
Just Avoid Sugar and Soda, Right?
Savvy consumers already know that sugar is one of the fastest roads to cavities. The bacteria in your mouth use sugar to produce enamel-eroding acid. Those who are particularly discerning know that the acids found in diet sodas and some artificially-sweetened sports drinks can be just as harmful to your teeth as the sugary stuff.
But choosing your beverages wisely doesn’t have to mean simply avoiding sodas. Instead, you can take initiative to boosting your oral health through your drinks by knowing which ones are actually good for your teeth. Consider taking one of these drinks out of the refrigerator next time you’d like to improve the health of your teeth and gums:
Water could actually be considered the perfect beverage (for fighting decay, anyway). It’s safe from corrosive acids and sugar, but also has the following benefits:
- It prevents tooth decay. Drinking water with fluoride (like the tap water in many communities) helps to fortify your teeth against cavities. Studies have shown that children in communities with fluoridated water have fewer cavities than in those without.
- Water keeps your teeth clean. Sipping water throughout the day has many health benefits, not the least of which is a clean smile. Water washes away leftover food particles that cavity-causing bacteria cling to. Water also dilutes and neutralizes acids produced by the bacteria in your mouth.
- Water combats dry mouth. Saliva works to wash away food particles and rebuild tooth enamel, replacing vital minerals lost to acids. Regularly drinking water helps replenish saliva and keep those benefits coming.
Vitamin D and calcium, present in high doses in milk, work together to strengthen teeth and prevent bone loss. Without it, calcium deficiency can actually heighten your risk of tooth decay and gum disease, and vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium. If you’re worried about a deficiency of either nutrient, upping your milk game is a quick fix. Additionally, three ingredients naturally found in milk—phosphorus, calcium, and a protein called casein—all help strengthen and repair weakened enamel.
Low Sugar Vegetable Juice
While fruit juices have a lot of natural sugars and can sometimes be highly acidic, vegetable juice is a fairly tooth friendly way to get your vitamins. Look for juice containing dark green vegetables like kale or spinach, which are rich in B vitamins and help fight gum disease. Leafy greens are also high in calcium, which again, helps rebuild and strengthen enamel. For added sweetness, look for juices containing small amounts of carrot or apple, healthy options for natural sugar in moderation.
A quick reminder: the above tooth-friendly beverages won’t replace proper dental hygiene. Brushing twice a day, flossing, and regular checkups with your dentist are your best bet for a clean, healthy smile. But choosing your beverages wisely will give you a keen edge in the fight against tooth decay.
Curious about more ways to fight tooth decay? Call College Drive Dental Associates in Palos Heights to set up your next checkup.