There is one beverage dental professionals can agree on as being the most beneficial for our oral health, and the answer is good ol’ H2O. Although most people would say it’s the most boring beverage, water is quite beneficial to teeth, as it increases the pH of saliva, making it less acidic, thereby helping to neutralize the detrimental effects of acidic foods on the tooth enamel. Additionally,water flushes away food particles and residue that cavity-causing bacteria are looking for,fights dry mouth, is calorie-free, and dilutes the acids produced by bacteria found naturally in the mouth. Se we’ve established that water is good for teeth, but what about wine,tea, and milk?
Studies and clinical trials show that wine, specifically red wine contains resveratrol, a naturally occuring polyphenol, that may play an important role in managing or preventing a variety of diseases. Some of the health benefits include cardioprotective effects,chemopreventive properties, and improved glycemic control. But what about wine and oral health? Red wine contains antioxidants that prevent plaque-causing bacteria from sticking to gum tissue. Red wine might help prevent periodontal disease-causing bacteria strains. By no means does this suggest that swishing a mouthful of wine is just as effective as mouthwash,but given a choice between chugging a can of soda or sipping a glass of Chianti, wine is the way to go.
How about a nice cup of tea?
Tea is one of the most frequently consumed beverages in the world, second only to water. Despite it’s potential aesthetic disadvantage of temporary discoloration of teeth,tea consumption has shown to help improve several aspects of oral health. Green tea extract inhibits the proliferation of Streptococcus mutans, the primary bacteria responsible for causing dental caries and periodontitis. Green tea has also been shown to exhibit inhibitory activity on other periodontopathic bacteria ,such as gingivalis,actinomycetemcomitans, and intermedia. Drinking more than one cup of green tea polyphenols displayed an inhibitory effect on the growth and development of oral squamous cell carinoma, and patients with leukoplakia and precancerous cellular damage. To be fair,despite all of these oral and dental health benefits, there are consequences of excessive tea consumption,key word being “excessive”. Consuming anything in excess,even something as innocuous as water, can lead to detrimental health effects.
Milk: It does a body good ..including the teeth and mouth.
In dental circles, milk generally gets a bad rep, due primarily to its causational relationship to baby bottle tooth decay, also known as early childhood caries. Infants and toddlers who are given milk in a bottle then put to sleep with bottle in their mouth are more susceptible to developing rampant caries caused by prolonged exposure to the sugar content of milk. Consumption of milk by adults and children who no longer use bottles, does have it’s benefits. One cup of milk provides 300 milligrams of calcium,which is the nutrient necessary for healthy bone growth, and also for the development of healthy teeth. Teeth and bones store 99% of the body’s calcium. A baby’s teeth begin forming while the baby is still in the womb, and is a reason for expecting mothers to consume the recommended daily allowance of between 1,000 to 1,300 mg of calcium per day, to allow proper tooth (and bone) development. Dairy also has decay-fighting properties and helps strengthen teeth . The order in which a person eats sugary food and drinks milk products can also make a difference to dental health,they state that drinking milk after eating sugary foods can lower harmful acidic levels in the mouth. So don’t eat cookies with milk,eat cookies and then drink milk to help wash them down and help neutralize salivary pH,too. So which is you beverage of choice?
In moderation they each have beneficial effects on teeth and overall oral health. The good thing about this rather diverse selection of beverages is just that, it’s diversity. For many, all four of these beverages have a place in a typical daily diet: Water from the water cooler at work, from the tap at home, or the bottles when on the go. A glass or two of wine at dinner, paired with a favorite meal. Enjoyed in a ice-cold glass with a cookie for dipping, or poured over cereal at breakfast, milk is often a family favorite. Last, but not least, tea is considered a more healthy option over coffee, sipped in the afternoon or before bed to help aid in rest and relaxation. Choose one, choose them all, just know that you’re not only satisfying your thirst,you’re also getting a variety of oral health benefits with each cup.