Most of us live our lives on-the-go. We rush from one meeting to the next, one appointment to the next, from work to school to soccer practice to dance classes. And repeat it all the next day.
When you live on-the-go, you tend to eat on-the-go, too. Ordering a fruit smoothie instead of fast food is a wise choice when you’re hangry, but there are dangers hidden in what is generally considered a very healthy drink. Fruit smoothies can damage your teeth!
Why Can Fruit Smoothies Damage Your Teeth?
Inside most fruit smoothies (the ones you don’t make at home) there’s usually a high volume of added sugar. I call it added sugar because fruit contains a lot of sugar. When there’s a lot of sugar every sip you take coats your teeth with sugar, the sugar then converts into acid, and the acid then attacks the protective enamel of your teeth and makes your mouth a perfect environment for bacteria to begin to grow. Bacterial plaque is the major cause of tooth decay, gingivitis, and more advanced gum disease.
Yikes! What you thought was a healthy choice can actually damage your teeth and cause all kinds of other problems, as well.
Despite all this, you do not have to stop enjoying the refreshing drink – because there are 3 things you can do to keep smoothies from damaging your teeth:
3 Ways To Keep Fruit Smoothies From Damaging Your Teeth
Use a Straw
Always drink your smoothies through a straw, and straws help the drink bypass your teeth and thus avoid direct contact with your tooth enamel.
Say No To The Extra Sugar
When you order your next smoothie, tell the preparer to leave out the sugar. Most smoothies are made with fruit, especially berries and bananas, which are sweet enough to be delicious just from the sugar they contain naturally.
Brush Your Teeth Before You Drink A Smoothie – Not After (Really!)
Although it seems counterintuitive, you should brush your teeth before you drink a smoothie. Most toothpaste contains fluoride, which helps harden your tooth enamel and, therefore, provides a layer of protection from the damaging effects of sugar. The reason I recommend you do not brush your teeth immediately after drinking a smoothie is because when sugar converts to acid it can soften tooth enamel. Brushing enables the acid to penetrate into your teeth further, which you do not want!
The bad news is your favorite smoothie can damage your teeth – but the good news is you can do something to minimize the damage by following the three steps above. Here are a few recipes for low sugar smoothies you can make at home.
So, go ahead and enjoy a delicious smoothie!
Dr. Michael Sinkin has practiced dentistry for over two decades in New York City. He truly cares about the experience you have in his office, and he takes great pride in making you feel relaxed and comfortable at every visit. Come in for an appointment and experience a different kind of dental practice. You may even receive a healthy dose of Dr. Sinkin’s famous comic relief! Call 212-685-3040.
I did not realize that brushing BEFORE hand would be more helpful than doing so afterwards. Very interesting, thanks for the great info.