What Are The Worst Drinks For Your Teeth?
Most people know that drinking soda can cause cavities, but did you know that many other common drinks are also damaging to your teeth?
While the sugar in drinks like soda, sports drinks, and juices certainly contribute to the formation of cavities by feeding harmful bacteria, there are other factors to watch out for.
Many commonly consumed beverages are also acidic, so heavy consumption of such drinks can wear down enamel, the protective outer layer of our teeth. This can lead to sensitivity, yellowing, and erosion of the teeth. Different types of acids have differing effects on enamel as well. For example, Coca Cola has phosphoric acid, while Red Bull and Mountain Dew have citric acid. So which drink is worse for your teeth?
While a pH chart can show us which drinks are most acidic (lower in pH value), this doesn’t tell the whole story. While the phosphoric acid in dark colas erodes teeth and contributes to cavities, especially in combination with high sugar content, citric acid may actually be worse for your teeth, even when the pH value is not as low.
This is because citric acid “chelates”, or binds calcium, preventing it from remineralizing enamel, leading to more damage in the form of erosion and cavities. Recent studies have shown that some citric acid-containing beverages, such as Mountain Dew, are more erosive than Coca Cola, despite having a higher pH.
Beverages below 4.0 are considered erosive, and beverages below 3.0 are considered extremely erosive
For this reason, I highly recommend avoiding sugary drinks containing citric acid. Examples include Red Bull, Mountain Dew, and Gatorade. Many patients mistakenly believe that sports drinks and energy drinks do not cause cavities the way that cola does, so I hope this blog post serves as a clarification and helps save some teeth!