What would be the first drink you give up when you start a diet? Alcohol, coffee, soft drinks, fruit juice? .
In this month’s blog, we will looking into different varieties of drinks, their health benefits, (or lack thereof), as well as their effect on our dental health.
Let’s start with the obvious; Soft Drinks.
Well, no surprises here, they are not healthy …. At all!
We all know that soft drink is full of sugar. For example; a 375ml can of Coke has 10 teaspoons of sugar. This means that in one drink you will have consumed much more than you recommended daily intake of sugar. Not only do these have a negative effect on your waistline, there are many other health risks that soft drinks can cause. And don’t be fooled, diet soft drinks aren’t any better.
Consuming soft drinks can increase your risk for, kidney disease, diabetes, heart disease and cancers. Not to mentioned that the amount of acid in soft drinks erodes the enamel of our teeth. If soft drink can erode one of the hardest materials (enamel), what is it doing to the rest of your body?
The Australian Guide to healthy eating recommends that we eat two pieces of fruit per day, not for the sugar but for the fibre, vitamins, antioxidants and minerals. Juicing fruit allows you to keep all the benefit but you usually lose the fibre.
Although fruit juice has benefits, it is important to remember that it also includes sugar. While they are natural sugars, it starts to become problematic when over consumption occurs.
Over consumption of fruit can occur fairly quickly when you are juicing entire fruits into a drink. When eating fruit you would usually only have a single apple, or a single orange, to make a full glass of juice, you juice many more. This quickly increases your sugar intake.
Many health bodies lump fruit juice in with soft drink, and this is no overreaction especially when it comes to store bought juices, with added sugar, artificial flavours and sweeteners, store bought juices align with soft drinks.
Again the amount of sugar in fruit juice have similar health risks as soft drink for our bodies health as well as dental health. Like soft drink, fruit juice also has a high acidic index and therefore, like soft drinks wears away our enamel.
Sports drinks were designed for athletes to help them replace what they have lost from physical exertion. Sports drink contain electrolytes and sugars like potassium and sodium. The electrolytes and carbs help to regulate the body’s fluid as well as replacing energy.
The problem with sports drinks again lies with incorrect use and over consumption. Many people, including children drink sports drink having done minimal, or no physical exertion at all. Getting these extra sugar and sodium isn’t recommended and certainly is not necessary.
These sugars in sports drink are linked to tooth decay, obesity and blood pressure concerns.
So, what have we learnt, is fruit juice healthy? Short answer is no; but when looking at other commonly consumed drinks, freshly squeezed fruit juice may just be the ‘ better option”, if you can call it that.
Always remember when liquefying your fruit, that the recommended daily intake is only two pieces of fruits, like everything, moderation is key.
At Hartwell Dentistry we are passionate about overall health but clearly have a focus on dental health. Fruit juice, soft drinks and sport drinks are definitely not our teeths best friend. The level of acidity (low pH level) in all of these drinks varies, but only slightly and regular consumption of any of these drinks will have a negative impact on your teeth and health.
By wearing away your enamel, the dentin (soft, yellow part of your teeth) is exposed. This loss of tooth structure increases sensitivity, risk of decay and can lead to nerve damage and potential tooth loss.
If you do consume these drinks, there a few tips that will help reduce their negative impact of your teeth.
- Drink water after consumption to help neuralise your pH level
- Don’t sip on these drinks. If you are going to drink them, do it quickly. By sipping on your drink it keeps the environment at a low pH level and the bodies natural defenses to protect our teeth and gums is diluted.
We have included some charts of the pH level of many common brand names drinks.