I wanted to write this post about carbonated and acidic drinks because I am finding that more and more of my patients like to drink acidic beverages, for instance Kombucha, Apple Cider Vinegar,Lemon Water, Sparkling Water. I have also found in some of them that despite of their clean diet and good oral habits they present cavities in the gum line.
I will give a little description of each of those drinks and how to enjoy them when at the same time you can prevent those cavities( Decay).
Apple Cider Vinegar: This ancient elixir has been used for thousands of years, and as a matter of fact, Hippocrates, the "father of medicine" used ACV as a natural antibiotic and antiseptic for his patients as far back as 400 B.C.! It is claimed that has the following properties: helps controlling your blood sugars, improving your digestion, flushing out toxins, losing weight, healing your skin, cancer prevention, fighting Gout, getting rid of warts, and even killing fleas on your pets!
Kombucha: It is a fermented tea that has been consumed for thousands of years. It is claimed that not only does it have the same health benefits as tea, but it's also rich in beneficial probiotics. Kombucha also contains antioxidants, can kill harmful bacteria and may help fight several diseases.
Lemon Water: is claimed that helps with hydration, skin quality,It’s a good source of vitamin C,supports weight loss,aids digestion and freshens breath.
These beverages have a good health impact and it would be a good idea to drink them safely, otherwise they damage our teeth at the same degree as any soda does.
Before I start explaining how the acidic ph causes erosion in our enamel, let me point out some characteristics of the enamel:
Enamel is the most external layer of the tooth, the hardest substance in the human body and contains the highest percentage of minerals;it does not contain blood vessels or nerves and it is very vulnerable to acids.
It does not grow back. Once it has been damaged, that loss becomes permanent. As hard as tooth enamel is, it can sustain a lot of damage, and erosion ranks as the most common type of tooth enamel damage.
Knowing that, we need to be careful when we drink any beverage with an acidic PH.
The following are some recommendations that not only allow you to enjoy your drink but also prevent enamel loss
1-Use a straw: using a straw will prevent that the acidic drink seats for long time on our teeth dissolving our enamel. It would be good to use one which goes to the back in order to have it close to the throat.
2-Drink it in a short period of time: don't sip on it throughout the day. This will contribute to having an acidic PH for a longer time, affecting the enamel of the teeth. Enjoy your drink but try to drink 4 ounces in 10 minutes maximum.
3-Rinse your mouth with water( alkaline is better) or an alkaline solution: once you are done drinking a carbonated drink, rinse your mouth at least 5 times with either alkaline water or baking soda in water or salt water or xylitol in water etc. Doing so, you will help your saliva to raise the PH in your mouth. Our oral health goes better with alkaline PH than acidic PH.
4-Don't brush your teeth after you finish your carbonated or acidic drink: Due to the acidic PH the enamel is weakened , scrubbing that weakened surface will only liberate more minerals from the tooth surface. It is better to wait at least 30 minutes before you brush your teeth.
5-Use an Oral Probiotic: Oral probiotics are live bacteria that are identical to the beneficial microorganisms found naturally in your mouth. The addition of oral probiotics to an oral care regimen can restore the natural balance of beneficial bacteria. Oral probiotics are different than regular probiotics. Probiora is a good example of an oral probiotic.