Summer in Canada means people are spending more time outside, working up a thirst through exercise or play. It’s easy to reach for a cold drink to help quench that thirst or replace some of the electrolytes you may have lost, but you need to choose wisely. Many popular drinks include hidden sugars or acids that can have negative effects on your oral health.
The first thing to know about this seemingly healthy option is that you may not need all those vitamins. You already get a lot of vitamins from a healthy diet, so you may not need the extra ones. The second thing to know is they’re often full of artificial flavours, colours, caffeine and sugar. The average bottle of vitamin water (591 ml/20 oz) can contain 32 grams — or eight teaspoons — of sugar! The World Health Organization recommends the average person limit themselves to 25 grams of sugar (six teaspoons) per day.
These products are infused with natural flavours and contain no added sugar; however, the carbonation is the result of carbon dioxide, an acid, which can attack your enamel. Since most of these beverages are naturally flavoured with various citrus fruits, this means they contain citric acid, which is also not tooth-friendly.
The high acidity and sugar in sports drinks can really do a number on your teeth. It can soften tooth enamel and lead to erosion over time. And watch out for the caffeine levels in these drinks, along with the artificial colours and flavours. These drinks are designed for athletes operating at peak levels and are often not necessary for the rest of us. It’s better to replenish electrolytes lost during an intense workout or an active lifestyle by drinking water and maintaining a healthy diet.
Soft drinks are the “greatest hits” of the threats we’ve listed above. They’re full of sugar, acid, carbonation, artificial flavours and colours and caffeine and are easy to consume in large quantities. In fact, an average can of Coke can contain up to 39 grams of sugar, which is even more than vitamin water! Sodas are okay as treats, but water is a much healthier option that will rehydrate you much better.
We know how refreshing a cold, tasty drink can be during the summer months. If you do reach for any of the above drinks, the key is moderation. Make sure you maintain a good oral health routine so that you’re not creating issues for your teeth while trying to hydrate.
Adapted from a Your Oral Health Magazine article originally by Maggie Blood.