When it comes to keeping your teeth and gums healthy, what you eat and drink plays an important role. We’ve talked about the vitamins and minerals you need for healthy teeth, and of course you already know (but we can’t stress enough) the importance of avoiding soda, fruit drinks, sports drinks, sweet tea, and other sugar sweetened beverages. However, there are a variety of healthy trends that have hit the market en masse lately and our family dentist in Fuquay Varina is sharing whether these support dental health or should stay on the shelf.
Flavored Seltzer and Sparkling Water
Sparkling waters and flavored seltzers are THE big trend for 2020 and they don’t look to be slowing down any time soon. Most people are reaching for them because they’re a low-sugar, healthier option to traditional soft drinks. However, are they better for your teeth and gums than a Coke or Pepsi, or even a diet soda?
The biggest concern with these is the high acidity of them, particularly the citrus flavored waters as they do contain natural ingredients that have high pH levels. High acidity can dissolve enamel and make your teeth more susceptible to cavities, decay, and sensitivity.
The good news is that eating with these drinks raises the pH level in your mouth, so if you love your La Croix, Bubly, or Perrier, enjoy it with a meal, and stick with still water the rest of the time.
Competing with sparkling water for leading beverage trend is coconut water. The clear liquid inside young coconuts is sweet, nutty, and is often dubbed as a natural sports drink because it is loaded with potassium and offers powerful hydrating abilities. But does it live up to the expectations and how does it benefit your teeth?
First, it is definitely better for you than a Gatorade, but that isn’t really setting a high standard for dental health. Coconut water does offer natural anti-bacterial qualities so it can reduce the bacteria in the mouth, and staying hydrated means you’re producing plenty of saliva that naturally keeps your teeth rinsed.
One thing to factor is the sugar content. Vita-Coco Coconut Water is the most accessible, popular brand, and a 16.9 oz container has 20 grams of naturally occurring sugar. While it’s significantly less than sports drinks or soda, it can still damage your teeth, especially if you sip on it for an extended period or have several through the day.
Like sparkling water, having one with a meal or after a workout to re-hydrate is not bad, but switch to regular water the rest of the time.
Bottled Green Juices and Smoothies
With names like “Kale Blazer” and “Sweet Greens,” how can these be bad for you? After all, leafy greens, apples, and celery have those vitamins and minerals that keep your teeth and gums healthy and strong, right? While they have a ton of label appeal, a lot of these bottled smoothies and pressed juices have a ton of sugar, too. Even those that don’t have added sugar by way of high fructose corn syrup can still pack over 40 to 50 grams of sugar from the pressed juice, which is still bad for your teeth.
A better option is simply to make your own green smoothies at home. Blending fruits offers the flavor and sweetness without the high concentration of fruit juice sugar. Try this recipe and tinker with it a bit:
- 1 Frozen banana (peel, slice, and freeze those ripe bananas in the fruit bowl)
- 1 cup of frozen fruit of your choice – a berry blend or a combination of mango and pineapple is delightful.
- 1 cup of leafy greens, like spinach or kale;
- 1/2 to 1 cup of milk – Almond, soy, rice, cow – pick your favorite.
- Bonus – Add 2 teaspoons of flax or chia seeds or a scoop of low-sugar vanilla whey protein for an added benefit.
Toss all the ingredients into your blender (starting with the liquid so the fruits and greens don’t get caught in the blades) and blend until smooth. This recipe makes a pretty good amount, so you may want to split it or double it so the whole family can have some!
Schedule a Checkup with Our Dentists in Fuquay Varina
If you are concerned that your favorite beverages may have damaged your teeth, or you’re simply due for a teeth cleaning and checkup, reach out to our Fuquay-Varina family dentist today. We offer quality dental care in a welcoming environment and provide comprehensive dental services to the whole family. To learn more, call us at 919-552-2431 or schedule an appointment today.