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Drinks like soda and 100% citrus fruit juice are sugar free, but they're still quite bad for your teeth.
This surprises many people who believe these drinks would be better for them than sugar laden drinks. However, the acid (e.g. phosphoric, citric, tartaric) in drinks can also wreak havoc in several different ways.
How Sugar Free Drinks Damage Your Teeth
One of the most common issues caused by sugar free drinks is dental erosion. Interestingly enough, sugar free drinks can cause about the same amount of damage as regular sodas do. Both types of drinks cause about 2.8 – 3 mg/cm² of tooth enamel to dissolve after 14 days of exposure.
Citric juices also had a similar effect. They can decrease your tooth enamel's hardness by as much as 84% and make them much rougher as well. What's also surprising is that the acid in lemon and lime juice is about as corrosive as battery acid.
Protecting Your Teeth
You can protect your teeth by brushing twice a day. However, you'll want to wait 30 – 60 minutes after drinking one of these beverages before brushing your teeth.
This is important because this is how long it takes for saliva to return the mouth to a neutral pH level. Brushing before this time can spread these acids around instead of removing it.
It's also best if you drink your sugar free drinks with your meals instead of indulging by continually sipping on them throughout the day. Make sure you use a straw and then drink some plain milk or water afterwards. Additionally, cheese is also helpful in neutralizing the acid, even though it's not a good idea to snack between meals.
Of course, you should also schedule routine dental exams with our office. This way we can make sure that there's no tartar or plaque building up on your teeth.