Clinician’s Corner: Acidic drinks & your teeth

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November 18th, 2021

illustration showing enamel erosion (cavity) developing on tooth

Enamel (the outer covering of teeth) is the hardest substance in your body— it’s even harder than bone. Still, you should know that there is one thing that can erode enamel and that is acid. Many foods and beverages create an acidic environment in your mouth that can cause decay and erosion of enamel over time. Long term erosion leads to holes in your enamel, also known as cavities.

Certain liquids contribute to tooth decay because of their pH or acid content. Liquids with lower pH contain more acid, so they are more damaging to enamel. Water is neutral with a pH of 7, which makes it the healthiest drink for oral and overall health. Dairy drinks (plain, low-fat or fat-free cow's milk) and dairy alternatives (almond milk without added sugar) are the next healthiest options. Juice can be quite acidic, especially citrus juices like orange and grapefruit. Unsweetened coffee and tea are also acidic and can cause damage to enamel when combined with sugar. Sugar-sweetened beverages like soda are some of the most acidic liquids.

This information in this post is for general educational purposes only and does not warrant or represent any information as related to health as specifically appropriate for you. It is not intended to be medical advice or replace the relationship that you have with your health care providers. You should always seek medical advice on any diagnosis or treatment from a qualified health care provider. The information is provided “as is” without any representations or warranties, express or implied.