A Helpful Reminder During Heat Waves

A Helpful Reminder During Heat Waves

Many people in the world are experiencing a heat wave. Exposure to the heat can affect your breathing, your heart rate, and more. It is also important to remember that heat waves affect our teeth.

In this kind of heat, we know that hydration is critical. But what you drink to hydrate might be harming your teeth more than you realize. Some of us will reach for a soda to quench their thirst. Othersheat wave - dreamstime s 58102280 may choose diet soda, sports drinks, or flavored sparkling water.

What we often do not consider is that it is not just the sugar, but the acid in these drinks that can cause tooth erosion (a process that wears away the enamel that protects your teeth. Tooth erosion makes your teeth vulnerable to the bacteria that cause cavities and infection. It can also make your teeth look yellow. This occurs because erosion of the enamel exposes the yellowish dentin beneath the enamel.

A recent study compared the effects on teeth of several beverages:

  • Non-carbonated bottled water
  • Flavored sparkling water
  • Plain sparling water
  • 7 different sugar-free beverages
  • 1 soda with sugar.

Researchers exposed teeth to the equivalent of a year’s worth of exposure.

According to the researchers When measuring the results of soda with sugar versus sugar-free soda, they found acids in both caused dental enamel to erode. Sweetener type was less of a factor. It was the acid in the beverages that eroded the tooth enamel. The researchers also observed erosion from flavored sparkling waters (although less) caused erosion of tooth enamel.

The only beverages in the study that did not cause enamel erosion were non-carbonated, non-flavored bottled waters.

Sometimes we feel that we must have a carbonated beverage. In this case, you might want to follow the tips from the American Dental Association to reduce tooth erosion from acidic foods and beverages:

  • Use a straw, sip and swallow – don’t swish or hold in your mouth
  • Wait 1 hour before brushing – give saliva time to work
  • Rinse with water, drink milk or eat cheese afterward to help neutralize the acid
  • Chew sugarless gum to keep saliva working to control acid and protect teeth.
  • Practice good oral health daily: brush twice daily, floss daily, eat a healthy diet, see your dentist regularly.

Getting through a heat wave will require hydration. But with the right kind of hydration, you can keep your teeth strong and your enamel healthy.