It’s a beautiful summer day, the sun is shining, the sky is blue and the temperature is hot. You may find yourself enjoying it by relaxing at the cottage, at a BBQ or maybe you are on the patio of your favourite restaurant.
Wherever you may find yourself chances are at some point you will be enjoying a cool liquid refreshment, but did you know by choosing some of the most popular summer beverages you could be causing your teeth serious decay?
Unlike eating sweets where on the biting surfaces of teeth we have thicker layers of enamel which acts as protection against decay. Drinking sweetened liquids fortified with sugar, flavoured syrups or honey attacked the teeth in areas where we have the least amount of enamel and thus make us more prone to cavities.
With the hot weather, we have been experiencing this summer people have been turning to liquids such as juice, Ice cappuccinos, soda, fruit smoothies and other drinks that contain high levels of sugar, syrups and honey. This has resulted in a large increase of patients coming in with a number of unforeseen cavities.
So what are some summer drinks you can enjoy without a significant risk of tooth decay? Drinking water with a couple of drops of lemon, orange, a slice of cucumber, or a few berries will help add a little flavour without the excessive amounts of sugar or syrup sweeteners. There are plenty of fruit and vegetable infusion recipes that can be found online and there are infusion recipe books available at most local bookstores during the summer months. It can also be fun to experiment yourself with different combinations to find a flavour that you enjoy! Just keep an eye on the amount of fruit you are adding as fruit is high in natural sugars. One note of caution that should also be considered when researching infusion recipes or making your own; you will want to watch the amount of lemon juice you use as it has a high acidity level and large amounts consumed on a regular basis will also break down the enamel protecting your teeth. It is probably safest to stick to 1 – 2 slices or to just a few drops of lemon to your infusions.
Now that you have an idea of what summer drinks are safe the next step is planning! It is all well and good to be aware of the effects that drinks sweetened with sugars and syrups can have on your teeth, but if you are constantly being caught away from home and unprepared you will have limited (if any) convenient choices other than just plain water when looking to quench your thirst! You might find it helpful to invest in a glass or stainless steel reusable water bottle as these types seem to retain less flavour that has been left behind after cleaning; when compared to plastic. Or if you are so inclined there are a number of reusable containers specially designed for infusions that include mesh filters and inserted baskets to hold the fruit or vegetables. Once you have a reusable container that can travel, you could then prepare your infusion ahead of time even the night before and keep it in the fridge. That way once you are ready to head out your infusion will be as well. In most cases (depending on the recipe) you should be able to refill your bottle with more water a few times while still retaining flavour. This will provide you with healthy, teeth friendly drink options while you are out enjoying your summer.
Remember it’s important to keep hydrated during these hot summer months but watch those sugar-filled drinks!