Are Sugar-Free Drinks Helping Your Waistline But Harming Your Teeth?

Seeing ‘sugar-free’ on drink labels is very attractive to health conscious shoppers but can be surprisingly bad for your teeth. Most people know that drinking sugary drinks can cause tooth decay, but another cause of cavities is the dental erosion that occurs when teeth are exposed to acid. Phosphoric acid, citric acid and tartaric acid are some of the ingredients in diet sodas and fruit juices that damage teeth, but you can reduce the effects of acidic drinks by taking these precautions.

Brushing your teeth twice a day with toothpaste as well as brushing after meals and sugar-free beverages helps limit the effects of acids on your teeth. Based on research it takes up to an hour for saliva to return to the mouth at a neutral pH balance after eating or drinking. It is recommended that you wait 30 minutes to an hour before brushing your teeth, doing so will prevent spreading the acids. Also, drink through a straw to minimize contact with your teeth, and chase the drink with plain milk or water.

Sticking to beverages that are low in acid keep your teeth from wearing, ultimately protecting them from becoming sensitive. Researchers have discovered that black tea, coffee, tap water and root beer are some of the beverages that have the least effect on teeth.

While drinking sugar-free drinks can be helpful to your waistline and moderating sugar consumption, it is always good to remember they may contain ingredients that are acidic and harmful to teeth. Wising up about the effects of sugar free drinks can end up saving your smile.

The Dental Department at Flushing Hospital offers every discipline of quality dentistry. The department’s highly skilled and expert staff provides preventive dentistry programs to school children as well as adults and seniors. For more information or to schedule an appointment, please call 718-670-5521.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.