We’ve blogged a lot about the trouble that sodas, fruit juices, and other acidic – and often sugary – drinks can spell for your teeth. (See here and here and here and here, for instance.) They’re destroyers of enamel, and once that’s gone, it’s gone. While you can certainly remineralize your teeth, your body just doesn’t have the cells to actually generate new enamel.
That loss of enamel means the teeth are more vulnerable to decay. Once decay has gone through the enamel into the softer dentin below, your dentist will recommend a filling or other restoration to repair the tooth once the decayed tissue has been removed.
But restorations can be affected by the stuff you drink, as well, as new research in the Dental Materials Journal shows.
For the study, researchers prepared 225 specimens for testing – 75 each for the various restorative materials they chose. These included two composite resins and four hybrid materials that combine composite with glass ionomer.
The molds were then exposed to cola, orange juice, coffee, an energy drink, and mineral water, with the water being used as a control. For three hours a day, five days straight, the specimens were submerged in the beverages. Afterwards, they were tested for factors such as surface hardness and color changes.
Just as with natural teeth, coffee produced the greatest color change. The cola and energy drinks, on the other hand, caused the greatest change in hardness. But compared against the water, all drinks caused some deterioration of the restoration materials.
Composite, however, fared the best. There was more deterioration with the hybrid materials. And, unsurprisingly, the more exposure to the acidic drinks, the greater the damage.
The extent of change in the restorative materials increased with duration and frequency of contact with the beverages, so a reduction in the frequency of ingestion of these beverages is recommended.
Of course, there are other benefits to consuming less of such drinks, especially drinks that are loaded with sugar (including coffee and tea drinks containing sugar and milk). Sugar is one of the primary fuels of chronic inflammation, after all, which is a common thread among all the systemic illnesses that have been linked with gum disease.
And if you favor artificially sweetened drinks instead, consuming less means foregoing a lot of the synthetic sweeteners that have been shown, among other things, to throw the gut microbiome out of balance. That, in turn, can have big implications for your oral health, too.
To think about it another way: Your body has no nutritional need for soda. And while juices do contain important vitamins, and coffee and tea may be antioxidant-rich, their sugars and acids may wind up effectively neutralizing their benefits.
Instead, give your body the thing it needs and craves: fluoride-free water. Water supports every bodily function. You simply can’t live without it.
Image by Marlith