New Era Smiles

Your Teeth and the pH Levels in What You Drink

As a general dentist, we are focused on improving the oral health of our patients and this has a lot to do with prevention.  We understand that if you can take good care of your teeth and gums, preventing common oral health problems, you will have better oral and physical health throughout your lifetime.  While we can always provide you with treatment and care after the fact, it is in your best interest to avoid problems in the first place.  One of the ways that you can do so is by eating a mouth-healthy diet.  To do so, you must first understand that there are certain foods and drinks that you should avoid because they are bad for your teeth and can actually work to erode them.  This concept goes much deeper than simply avoiding eating candy if you do not want cavities.  Instead, there is an entire list of things that you must avoid in order to keep your teeth in good health.

It all comes down to the pH levels in the products that you are drinking or eating.  The goal is to consume products that have a neutral pH level or a high pH level.  Water is neutral at a 7 pH.  Drinking it is not necessarily good or bad for your teeth although it is good in that it prevents you from having dry mouth, which can in turn improve your oral health.  A low pH level, on the other hand, can start to erode your enamel and even your dentin.  With that in mind, below are drinks that you should avoid.

Soda. The carbonation and sugar in soda give it a pH level that is so low it is closer to battery acid than it is to water.  That should alarm you and as a general dentist, we recommend that our patients never drink soda, even diet soda.  While the sugar content is less, both can still erode your enamel.  Cola products (generic and name brand) like traditional Coke, Cherry Coke, and Pepsi can be the worst with pH levels as low as 2.38.  Remember, that 7 is neutral.  Even diet soda is bad for you with pH levels around 3.65.  If you are going to drink soda, your best bet is to grab a root beer.  While still bad for you, an A&W root beer has a pH level of 4.75 as compared with 2.5 for a Coca-Cola Classic.

Juice.  Even juice can erode your enamel.  As a general dentist, we prefer if our patients eat fruit and rinse teeth immediately afterwards in order to rinse away any of the acidic juices.  If you do drink juice, avoid anything that has an acidic fruit in it.  For example, orange juice has a pH level of 3.7 and grapefruit juice can have a pH level of 3.81.  If you want juice, try a V8 vegetable juice instead since the pH level is 4.29.

The safest thing for you to drink is water or milk.  As a general dentist, we suggest switching your other beverages for these safe ones while remembering that milk is full of sugar, so you still want to brush your teeth afterwards.