4 Ways Acidic Drinks Can Affect Your Oral Health

5 April 2023
 Categories: Dentist, Blog

You should already know that sugary drinks can negatively affect your oral health, but you might not know that acidic drinks can also cause damage. Acidic drinks have a pH level that is less than 7, and common examples include soft drinks, energy drinks, sports drinks, wine, coffee and citrus fruit drinks. While many of them seem innocuous — especially fruit juices — their acidic nature can wear down your tooth enamel and leave you vulnerable to several dental issues.

Here are just four ways acidic drinks can impact your teeth.

1. Sensitivity

Enamel is the hard outer surface of your teeth. It essentially forms your teeth's protective coating. Once it starts to get significantly worn away by acidic drinks, the dentin that lies beneath will be exposed. Dentin is far more sensitive, and it's also less able to prevent hot and cold temperatures from being transmitted to the tooth pulp. As such, patients with worn enamel often experience extreme sensitivity when they eat or drink anything hot or cold. 

2. Staining

Many acidic drinks can cause staining due to the tannins they contain, with coffee and wine being two of the most obvious examples. However, all acidic drinks can make teeth more susceptible to staining over time. As enamel is eroded, the darker layer of dentin beneath will show through more easily. Additionally, enamel becomes rougher as it is worn down by acidic drinks, and staining compounds find it much easier to attach to your teeth when surfaces are no longer smooth.

3. Tooth Decay

One of the most serious issues associated with acidic drinks is that they can raise your risk of developing cavities. Since protective enamel is worn away, your teeth will be more vulnerable to decay. This makes cavities more likely, and these will need to be treated with fillings since enamel cannot be regrown or replaced once it has been lost. In extreme cases, frequent exposure to acidic drinks can even result in tooth loss.

4. Loose Fillings

Acidic drinks don't just increase your risk of needing a cavity — they can also reduce the effectiveness of any cavities you currently have. This is because restorative materials can become softer when exposed to acidic compounds. Additionally, repeated exposure means that enamel will start to lose its shape, and it's that enamel that your filling must cling to. As such, drinking acidic drinks too often can cause fillings to loosen. Even if they don't come fully loose, this means they won't provide such effective structural integrity. 

For more info about dentistry, contact a local professional.