When you think of harmful drinks for your oral health, you probably immediately think about soda and its destructive properties for your teeth and gums. While soda has a pretty bad reputation for the damage it can cause to your oral health, it isn’t the only harmful beverage. Pretty much any drink with an excess amount of sugar can end up damaging your smile and leading to tooth decay and gum disease. This even applies to juices and smoothies, which are typically believed to be a healthy alternative to soft drinks. Whether you have all of your natural teeth or dental implants, it’s important to keep an eye on the amount of sugar you’re consuming daily. Consuming an excess of sugar has been shown to be disastrous for overall health and oral health. To explain more on this subject, Dr. Richard Ekstein gives his readers here in North Arlington, NJ an in-depth look at why juices and smoothies can be damaging and how to minimize the amount of damage that can occur.
Over the past few years, juicing has become a notable health craze among the health-conscious population. This craze involves using juice from fruits and veggies as the main component of your diet. Juicing has been praised for providing health benefits and nutrients like iron, potassium, fiber, and vitamins and minerals. It’s also known for its cleansing and detoxifying properties. Although juice enthusiasts are passionate about the health benefits of juicing, there are also many drawbacks to this craze. As you know, fruits and vegetables contain sugar, and as we said before, sugar is very destructive for oral health.
So, why is sugar so dangerous for our teeth and gums? The trouble isn’t actually with sugar alone. Sugar only becomes destructive when paired with bacteria already present in our mouth. This oral bacteria will take the sugar to create acids that wear away at your teeth. The acids are destructive to your tooth enamel, the outer protective layer of your tooth. As your enamel begins to wear away, bacteria can make it’s way to the tooth pulp where the blood vessels and nerves are located. This is why you will experience sensitivity after extensive enamel erosion and tooth decay.
Drinking juices and smoothies can be even more dangerous for individuals already dealing with oral health problems like gum disease. Gum disease occurs when bacteria in plaque infect the mouth and gums and causes them to become swollen and inflamed. The sugars found in smoothies and juices can exacerbate conditions and worsen the problem.
The amount of sugar and the concentrate of juice will also have an effect on how destructive it is to your oral health. Even juices and smoothies that claim to be 100% juice are not completely safe for your teeth. A study from the University of Liverpool and the University of London looked at 100% natural juices and smoothies aimed at children. Researchers found that some pure juices had over two teaspoons of sugar while smoothies had more than 2.5 teaspoons. This is alarming when you consider that the American Heart Association recommends no more than 3-4 teaspoons of sugar per day for children. That’s more than half of a child’s allotted sugar for the day in just a single drink.
Sugar levels are even higher in fruit drinks that are not 100% fruit juice. That is because more sugar is added in addition to the sugar that is already naturally occurring. Many studies have shown that the amount of sugar that is added to juice is comparable to sodas. Citric juices like orange juice or grapefruit juice can be even more dangerous because the acidity will strip away at the tooth enamel.
You can avoid damage or at least limit the amount of damage to your teeth by taking a few precautionary steps. Some ways you can limit harm to your teeth include:
As you can see, juice isn’t the greatest alternative to soda after all. The high amount of sugar and acidity can do quite a bit of damage to your teeth and can be even worse for those of you already dealing with oral health problems. Adjusting your diet to limit your juice consumption can benefit your overall health and your oral health. Unfortunately, this won’t make a drastic change for individuals currently dealing with severe problems like tooth loss. In this particular event, we recommend looking into restorative treatments like dental implant. Dental implants can give you a natural-looking smile with feeling as secure as your natural teeth. To get started on your dental implant treatment, contact our office today to schedule your one-on-one consultation with Dr. Ekstein.
Dr. Richard Ekstein
312 Belleville Turnpike #3b
North Arlington, NJ 07031
Monday: 8AM – 6PM
Tuesday: 7:30AM – 6PM
Wednesday: 8AM – 6PM
Thursday: 12PM – 8PM