As we all know, sodas and other sugary beverages can lead to tooth decay and cavities, but sugar is not the only substance that harms teeth. Acids, particularly citric acid which is found in many beverages, can also cause dental problems.
So, you may be wondering, are there any drinks besides water that don’t hurt the teeth? According to a new study published in the July/August issue of General Dentistry home-brewed tea is not only safe for your teeth, but it also may have protective effects due to high levels of fluoride. However, moderation is the key with fluoride because high levels can be damaging.
The study also found that both green and black teas do not erode the teeth like sodas and orange juice, but they found that green tea is the best choice because of the flavonoids and antioxidants. Home-brewed tea is better than prepackaged iced teas which often contain citric acid and lots of sugar. For the best protection for your teeth is also advised not to use sugar, lemon or milk in the tea.
Other tips to decrease erosion offered by the Academy of General Dentistry include the following:
- Reduce or eliminate carbonated beverages. Instead, drink water, milk, or tea
- Skip the additives such as sugar, lemon, and milk
- Drink acidic drinks quickly and through a straw
- Chew sugar-free gum to increase saliva flow in your mouth
- Rinse with water to neutralize the acids, and wait an hour before brushing
Reference: Han, S. Drinking Green Tea Protects Your Teeth. Foodconsumer.org. November 25, 2008.