Most people today are aware of recent research on the negative effects of sugary drinks on your dental health, spurring many people to lessen their intake of their favourite sodas and juices for other types of beverages. It is almost common knowledge that high levels of sugar in food and drink often lead to an unfavourable environment in the mouth that can cause cavities, tooth decay, and a host of other problems for the body.
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Unbeknownst to most, however, are the hidden dangers of these other, non-sugar based drinks for your oral health. Many carbonated drinks, like vitamin water or sparkling water, can actually cause just as much damage to your teeth as sugary drinks because of the way the elements in the beverages are broken down in our mouths and bodies. What should you watch out for?
To understand how low-sugar carbonated beverages affect our teeth, a team of researchers from Birmingham University in the UK conducted an experiment whereby they placed discarded teeth in glasses filled with sparkling water and other carbonated drinks for a period of 30 minutes. They discovered that the biggest problem with carbonated drinks is their acidity level. Upon measuring the acidity level of the sparkling water, they found it to be the same as many forms of soda and other sugary drinks normally associated with tooth decay such as orange juice or tea. This is a worrying finding because it is the acidity in these drinks that cause the erosion of teeth enamel and the eventual decaying of the teeth.
Other studies have shown that tooth erosion is closely associated with the amount of time a substance is kept in contact with the teeth. Because of the nature of carbonated beverages, most people drink them more slowly than non-carbonated beverages, increasing the amount of time the liquid touches the teeth. This increased contact, paired with the corrosive acidity level of the drinks, can also increases the likelihood that your teeth might begin to decay.
How to Avoid Tooth Decay
Because tooth decay seems to be a function of both what substances you put in your mouth and how long you keep them there, to avoid serious problems it is best to limit your consumption of carbonated beverages while also monitoring how long you are actually spending drinking those few carbonated drinks you do have. Obviously these practices must be accompanied by a normal oral health regime that includes daily brushing and flossing and regular visits to the dentist. For those who simply cannot give up their favourite sparkling drunk, special toothpastes with high concentrations of fluoride (an element that contributes to the maintenance and creation of strong teeth) are available that specifically combat tooth decay.
What to Do if Tooth Decay Has Already Begun
If for a long stretch of your life you have been a consumer of carbonated drinks, chances are you have already felt increased sensitivity in your mouth and may already be suffering from some tooth decay. If this is the case, you should severely limit how many sugary and carbonated drinks you ingest and see your dentist as soon as possible. Depending on the severity of the problem, your dentist may need to fill any cavities that have formed or even replace a part or entire tooth with a crown or implant. For more serious procedures, it is recommended you see more established dental care providers. Dental crowns and services in Indianapolis, for example, will most likely be of a higher and longer-lasting quality than those you might find outside the capital in a small town in Indiana.
It may seem that new research simply continues to limit the foods and drinks we can safely consume on a normal basis, and this may be true to a certain extent. Understanding the way that the substances we ingest affect our oral health, however, should be seen as a tool in our quest for healthy living. Carbonated drinks, or sugary drinks for that matter, can be safely consumed in moderation and coupled with a good oral health regime that continuously strengthens your teeth. No need to give up on your favourite brand of sparkling water just yet – save it for those special occasions!
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