WEST ALLIS, Wis. – The “Sip All Day, Get Decay” slogan isn’t just meant to be a catchy tagline – it’s a warning based in fact! As people get back to work, school and fall sports after a fun-filled summer, the Wisconsin Dental Association is cautioning against daylong sipping of sugary and acidic drinks.
“Not only are sugary drinks like sodas, sports drinks, smoothies and energy drinks harmful to teeth, but beverages with high acidity such as diet sodas, juices, coffees and teas are just as risky,” said Dr. Paula Crum, a Green Bay periodontist and president of the WDA. “Sipping drinks like these all day contributes to erosion of tooth enamel, which can lead to cavities and decay. It may be difficult to completely remove sugary and acidic beverages from our diets, but limiting consumption is a good start to better oral health. In fact, enjoying these drinks in moderation may represent no harm at all.”
The WDA recommends these useful tips for limiting daylong sipping and protecting your teeth:
- Drink, don’t sip. Lingering over a beverage gives the bacteria in your mouth more time to eat the sugar from your beverage and to create cavities. If you can’t part with your daily coffee or tea, drink these beverages quickly to give your body time to wash away the bad stuff. Don’t swish or hold the beverage in your mouth longer than needed. Try to drink sweetened coffees, teas or sodas in one sitting instead of sipping on them over a longer period of time, or use a straw.
- Drink more water, especially if it’s fluoridated. Sipping on water is one of the best things you can do for your teeth, not to mention your entire body. If your community’s water is fluoridated, drinking tap water can strengthen your teeth, help protect teeth against cavities, keep your mouth clean and help fight dry mouth. Did you know that lack of water is also the number one trigger for daytime fatigue? Drinking eight glasses of water a day will keep you awake and hydrated, and can lead to better overall health.
- Brush your teeth twice a day. Brush your teeth for two minutes twice a day, and clean between your teeth once a day. Using a toothpaste with fluoride will help to prevent cavities and strengthen teeth. Ask your dentist about the best way to do this. Help all kids under the age of eight to brush and floss well, and be sure to visit your dentist regularly.
- Talk with your dentist. Your dentist will always provide you with the best oral health advice. Consult your dentist to ask about recommendations and alternative options for beverages that will promote a healthy smile. Make sure you see your dentist at least once each year, and to schedule an appointment if it’s been over six months since your last visit.
More details and tips on this topic can be found at WDA.org/Sip-All-Day. For more information about everything related to your oral health, visit the American Dental Association’s public awareness website at MouthHealthy.org. To find a dentist in your area, visit WDA.org/Find-A-Dentist.