For most of us, life is lived on the go. We rush from one meeting to the next, one appointment to the next, from work to school to soccer practice to dance classes. With living on the go, comes eating on the go, despite how conscious we are of our health and body weight. In an attempt to offset this, we sometimes stop at the local fruit juicer and pick up a fruit smoothie.
Fruit smoothies are also a common preference for weight-conscious folks who are trying to avoid sodas and sugary punch drinks. A fruit smoothie during our cool-down period after the gym can hit the spot, and the antioxidants that can be found in berry juice (when you are actually drinking authentic berry juice and not “natural flavors”) can actually be quite beneficial to your overall health. But did you know the negative effects of fruit smoothies on teeth?
Recent studies show that the high volume of acid and sugar in these fruit smoothies can actually wear down the enamel that protects your teeth from decay. Factor in that some popular smoothie stands will actually add sugar to the smoothie and every sip you take is coating the gums and enamel with sugar that eventually turns to acid and assists in the buildup of bacteria and the dreaded “P” word: Plaque.
So never drink a fruit smoothie? Run away from that Orange Julius stand at the mall? No. There are some helpful tips to enjoying your fruit smoothie without suffering the effects it has on tooth enamel:
• Use a Straw: Drinking your smoothie through a straw allows the drink to bypass your teeth and avoid direct contact with the tooth enamel.
• Brush Your Teeth Beforehand: Most people might also read this and decide to quickly brush their teeth right after they drink their smoothie. Reverse that. Try brushing your teeth before you plan to have any sugary drink, as the fluoride in the toothpaste will actually help harden the enamel and adds a layer of protection to the coming assault. Brushing your teeth afterward only contributes to the breakdown of tooth enamel and allows the acids to penetrate deeper.
• Pass on the Added Sugar: When ordering your smoothie, ask the preparer to leave out the added sugar. Most fruit smoothies are sweet enough to be delicious just from the sugar in the fruit.
By all means, enjoy the healthful aspects of drinking fruit smoothies, especially when they’re prepared with actual fruit. But keep your total health in mind and be aware of the negative effects sugary drinks can have on teeth.
Dr. Michael Sinkin has been practicing dentistry for over two decades. He truly cares about the experience his patients have and takes great pride in making them feel relaxed and comfortable during every visit. Come in for an appointment and experience a different kind of dental practice. You may even receive a healthy dose of Dr. Sinkin’s famous comic relief!DISCLAIMER: The advice I offer in response to your questions is intended to be informational only and generic in nature. Namely, I am in no way offering a definitive diagnosis or specific treatment recommendations for your particular situation. My intent is solely educational and my responses to your actual questions serve as springboard to discussion of a variety of dental topics that come up in day-to-day dental practice. Any advice offered is no substitute for proper evaluation and care by a qualified dentist.