By: Heather Hradek, DDS, FAGD
La Croix and other flavored sparkling waters. Prosecco and Champagne. Kombucha. Several of the most popular, trendy drinks right now have a common tie- bubbles! Everyone loves bubbles and the fizzy effervescence that tickles our nose… unfortunately, your teeth do not love the bubbles.
LaCroix. Spindrift. Bubbly. You’re always trying to drink more water so these flavored, bubbly waters seem like the perfect alternative, right? Unfortunately, the fruity flavoring is usually derived with citric and other fruit acids, which can cause tooth erosion- basically gradually, incrementally dissolving the hard outer surface of your teeth, leaching out calcium, leaving them more cavity prone. The carbonation in these drinks is derived by the addition of carbonic acid… that’s right, more acid. When all these acidic components combine, you have a delicious drink that unfortunately has a pH as low as 2.7. Tap water typically has a neutral pH of 7 for comparison. Stomach acid is a pH of 2. Yikes.
Pop, fizz, clink! Champagne and Prosecco are the iconic drink associated with celebration! The sales of these bubbly wines have skyrocketed in the past few years as trendsetters have helped created an association of these drinks with ‘living their best life’ and celebrating the everyday. Unfortunately, prosecco and champagne provide a triple threat to your teeth with the carbonation, acid, and sugar content. The pH of prosecco typically lies around 3.25. As far as your teeth are concerned, choosing a Brut or dry Champagne or Prosecco will be a better option as the sugar content is lower. Nibbling cheese or some almonds while having a glass of bubbly is a great (and delicious!) idea as the cheese and almonds have a more basic pH which will help to neutralize the acidity.
Kombucha has been denoted as one of wellness foods of our generation. Kombucha is a fermented black tea chock full of prebiotics and priobiotics to increase the healthy bacteria in our gut and aid in digestion. Since kombucha is a fermented drink, bacteria is driving the fermentation process, and unfortunately, creates acetic acid as a byproduct. Due to the high levels of acidity created during the fermentation, the pH of well-brewed kombucha falls between 2.5-3.5.
As a dentist, I can say that I still enjoy all of these delicious drinks, but I have a few tips I use to help keep my teeth healthy. With the flavored waters, you can enjoy these once in awhile, but definitely don’t use these as your primary method of hydration—stay with tap water. If you decide to partake in any of these beverages, minimizing your time of exposure will decrease the time the acid sits on your teeth. Don’t swish your drink around your mouth. Using a straw can help minimize the exposure or just not sipping all day, every day. Every time you take a sip, the pH level in your mouth drops to an acidic zone and takes about an hour to reach a neutral zone again, so drink up and be done.
You may be tempted to rush off and brush right away to minimize the acid exposure, but that’s also not a great idea. The acidity from the drinks can soften the enamel, so scrubbing with an abrasive tooth paste and brush will be even more abrasive than normal, scrubbing away precious enamel. Drinking plain water after you are done is a better idea as this will help to rinse away the acids and sugars more quickly as well to neutralize the pH level. Also having these drinks with a meal is a great idea as your saliva is already flowing and helps rinse away the acids more quickly. Saliva is also full of acid neutralizing components to help dilute the acidic effects. As with all things, enjoy these in moderation to help keep your pearly whites sparkling!
Chesterton Family Dental is the general dental office of Dr. Mystie Pieters, Dr. Heather Hradek, and Dr. Robert Pieters providing comprehensive dental care for the entire family.