Blog post by Jada Gemaehlich, RDH
Many times patients complain they are always getting told they have cavities/decay and state “I have just always had bad teeth.” As genetics can definitely play a part in having a high decay rate, the majority of the time the decay rate is actually due to what you are drinking and eating throughout the day.
Sipping on soda, juice, Gatorade, and even milk, as it also contains sugar (lactose), is very hard on your teeth. When sipping on these drinks, sugar adheres to our teeth and is then broken down by the proteins in our saliva. When this breakdown occurs acid is secreted onto the teeth causing an acid attack on our teeth. It usually takes our saliva about 15-20 minutes to get back to a neutral pH level which is why sipping on sugary drinks is so destructive to our teeth. As we sip on these drinks throughout the day, we are never allowing our saliva to neutralize and our mouth is constantly staying at that acidic environment, which is where the cavity causing bacteria really thrive.
Many of us enjoy having these great tasting drinks during the day, which is no problem as long as we don’t sip on them for an extended amount of time. It is better to limit these drinks to mealtimes or to about 30 minutes or under and drinking water the rest of the time as water is really the only safe drink for your teeth to be sipping on and allows our saliva to neutralize.