‘Unexpected’ sugar-free drinks that are ‘ruining’ your teeth

It is widely understood that consuming too many sugary drinks can have a negative impact on our teeth. Sugar increases bacterial growth in the teeth, which then strips away protective enamel – leading to cavities. However, this is not the only ingredient we should be wary of when it comes to our teeth.

Speaking exclusively with Express.co.uk, Prav Solanki, founder of dental and healthcare marketing company Prav, said: “People don’t usually think much about what they are drinking and the effects that drinks have on our health, specifically our teeth.

“Being careless about what we drink can cause discoloration of teeth, cavities, gingivitis, and periodontal diseases.

“Many of the damaging drinks are definitely tasty, but that taste comes with its own share of disadvantages and risks when consumed regularly.”

Coffee

“Coffee is known to cause discoloration of the teeth and can also stain teeth,” he said.

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This was backed by a report published in the Journal of Physics, which states: “The chlorogenic acid compound in a coffee bean can cause external discoloration of the tooth enamel.”

Mr Solanki recommended drinking coffee through a straw to eliminate direct contact with the teeth, as drinking excessive amounts of coffee can also wear down the enamel and increase tooth sensitivity.

He added: “Coffee is also slightly acidic which can contribute to the breakdown of enamel. Not to mention that added sugars can increase the risk of cavities.”

Milk

Mr Solanki said: “We have all heard that drinking dairy milk will make your teeth strong, but leaving milk on your teeth for long periods of time, such as overnight, will cause the lactose in milk to promote cavities. This is because lactose is a form of sugar.

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Flavoured water

“While many people turn to flavoured water as an alternative drink due to its lower sugar content, they are usually packed with acids from fruits,” Mr Solanki warned.

“Fruits like oranges and lemons affect teeth even when they are added to water. acid breaks down the enamel in teeth even if they are not touching the teeth directly.”

One study, published in the Nutrition Research Journal, proved the link between acidic drinks and tooth decay.

It concludes: “Dental erosion associated with consumption of acidic beverages is a potential oral health concern.

“Patients with high consumption of acidic beverages, decreased salivary flow, prolonged beverage holding habits, or mouth breathing could be at an increased risk for dental erosion.”

Bottled water and sparkling water

“These waters may not necessarily be a bad drink for your teeth, but there are better options to consider,” Mr Solanki explained.

“Bottled water doesn’t contain fluoride and sparkling water is more acidic, which can wear down the enamel of teeth.”

A paper, published in the Korean Journal of Orthodontics, says: “Carbonated water has negative effects on etched or sealed enamel, resulting in decreased microhardness and removal of the adhesive material.”

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