October 19, 2018
Health & Fitness
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Choose To Drink Water

Dr. Jeffrey Cranska
Dr. Jeffrey Cranska's picture
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September 18, 2018

Sugary drinks contribute to tooth decay. Acidic drinks cause erosion that wears away healthy tooth enamel. The average teenager drinks more than 60 gallons of soft drinks per year. A better choice is water.

Q: What is in a sports drink?

A: Most sports drinks contain water, salt and sugar. Energy drinks add caffeine and herbal extracts. These drinks can have a pH as low as 3 to 4. The frequent ingestion of sugar in sodas, energy and sports drinks leads to tooth decay.

Sugars are broken down into acids. These acids then break down the tooth. After the last intake of sugar, tooth plaque bacteria give off acids for up to 20 minutes. If you constantly sip drinks, your teeth can’t fight the constant production of acid, and demineralization results. The effect is eroded teeth, and dental decay and sensitivity.

Q: What is enamel erosion?

A: Erosion begins with enamel demineralization, dissolving of the outer enamel surface of the tooth. Enamel is the hardest surface in the human body.

One cause of enamel breakdown is tooth decay. Dental decay (caries) is a bacterial disease. In their mouth, everyone has bacteria, which cause caries. These bacteria form a plaque on teeth (sticky bacterial deposits); sugar from the diet is turned into acid by these bacteria, which causes decalcification of the tooth, destroys the tooth enamel and allows decay to occur.

On the rise is enamel demineralization from direct exposure to acids found in our drinks. Destruction is caused without bacteria. The main culprits are soda, sports and energy drinks, and concentrated fruit drinks. Non-diet risks include stomach acid from reflux disorders or bulimia. Any drinks with a pH under 5.5 begin to dissolve and break down tooth enamel.

Q: Is diet soda bad for my teeth?

A: Diet soda has no sugar, but is not safe because it contains phosphoric acid and breaks down tooth enamel, which promotes cavities. Better drink choices are water, milk or diluted 100 percent fruit juices.

Water is a necessary nutrient for everyday life and it helps us hydrate before, during and after exercise or playing in sports events. Sports drinks were created to replace water and nutrients after high-intensity athletic activity and workouts that exceed an hour in duration. Sports drinks are not recommended for regular hydration. The average person should drink between nine and 13 cups of water daily.

Prevent tooth destruction with a better diet, and substitute water for soda and sports drinks.

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