Weekly Dental by Maria

Week of May 29

We May Be Drinking Acid

Did you know, that most drinks you and I consume everyday are actually acidic? Yeah, me neither. Remember chemistry class? Acids and bases are measured on a scale of 0 to 14, the side closer to 0 being super acidic like battery acid and the side closer to 12 being super basic like ammonia. Well, 93% of the “commercially available” beverages examined in a recent study (published in the Journal of American Dental Association) had a pH less than 4.0! That means that most of what we drink is super acidic and has potential to erode our teeth. I was understandably concerned when I read this and decided to find out more. What can we take away from the data on these “commercially available” beverages? And what are the side effects of tooth erosion?

The study tested what seems like all the sports drinks, flavored waters, sparkling waters, sodas, energy drinks, and iced teas under the sun. Posted below this article are the test results for your reference. Knowing how much we New Yorkers (especially the Financial District) love our coffee, I instantly flipped to the results pertaining to coffee. I was relieved to learn that a Starbucks Medium Roast yielded a pH of 5.11. Not bad.

However, before we rejoice let us remember another component of NYC life: physical activity and the whole juicing phenomena. Sports drinks tested the most erosive out of all, categorized as “extremely erosive”, Activ Water and Gatorade being most erosive at a ph between 2-3. Fruit drinks averaged a pH of 3-4, with drinks like Tropicana Orange Juice having a ph of 3.8, and Ocean Spray Cranberry at a pH of 2.56. And seemingly healthy stuff like V8, Naked and Sobe were on the erosive list as well.

Tooth erosion is basically the progressive loss of enamel (the coat over your teeth that protects dentine and prevents sensitivity). Tooth sensitivity is what makes people cringe when their teeth come into contact with something hot or cold, a sometimes painful and often annoying experience.

Alright, so for the wrap-up: if it is one thing we non-dentist professionals can take away from this study, it’s that we must pay attention to what we drink and not take our enamel for granted. Harmful acid may be contained within your daily breakfast drink, post-workout ritual or afternoon energy-boost. Acids are countered by bases, so drinking something like milk after your acidic drink can help lower erosion. Also, don’t brush teeth immediately after consuming something acidic. The great Buddha once said: “Each morning we are born again. What we do today is what matters most”. As it pertains to teeth, this is bolux and all habits, good and bad, accumulate and are reflected in one’s oral health. Be sure to share with Dr. Perlroth your dental habits and come in regularly for a check-up. Results from study are in Google Document below. Maria out.

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