Everyone knows that sugar is terrible for teeth. People who drink huge numbers of soft drinks end up with major dental problems. As a result, many young professionals who care about their smiles have ditched soda. This is great news! The problem is that a popular substitution can also wreak havoc on your smile.
Better for the Waistline, Terrible for Teeth
The current seltzer fad is beginning to cause problems for many of our patients. Flavored seltzer is delicious, sugar-free, and calorie-free. It gives the same sort of fizzy uplift that a can of soda does. It's fun and tasty, and you can drink as much as you want, right?
Not quite. The same process that makes seltzer bubbly makes it acidic. The average seltzer has a pH between 3 and 4, while soda has a pH between 2.5 and 3.5. Seltzer may lack sugar, but the acid can still eat away at your teeth. Here's how it happens:
Step 1: You drink a delicious can of seltzer with lunch.
Step 2: The acid in the drink changes the pH of your mouth.
Step 3: The enamel, the hard outer layer of your teeth, softens, making your teeth vulnerable.
Step 4: The carbs from your lunch feed the bacteria in your mouth. They're ready to grow, and your teeth are weak.
Step 5: Ever conscious of hygiene, you brush your teeth after lunch. Because the enamel is weakened, you can brush some of it away.
Step 6: Bacteria gain a new foothold on your teeth, and start the tooth decay process.
Drinking Seltzer Safely
It is possible to enjoy the occasional seltzer without destroying your smile.
- Limit your seltzer consumption. If possible, do not drink it with a meal.
- Rinse your mouth with water after drinking seltzer
- Wait at least an hour to brush after consuming an acidic drink – this gives your enamel a chance to re-harden
- See your dentist every six months
- Eat lots of crunchy fresh fruits and vegetables, to help limit bacterial growth
- Brush with fluoridated toothpaste – it can strengthen your teeth!
Everyone needs a treat sometimes, and seltzer is delicious. Enjoy it cautiously, come and see us every six months, and protect your smile.