Smoothies May Damage Teeth

In the run-up to the holidays, people try many things to lose weight quickly. A lot of people turn to smoothies. We have never been fans of smoothie diets. They rarely leave you as satiated as a meal. You can drink too many calories while not feeling as full as you would have from a smaller meal. Generally speaking, our advice is to treat smoothies as a treat rather than a meal alternative.

However, we know that different diets work for different people, and some folks love them. If you are doing a cleanse or getting ready for a big gathering where you want to look your best, you may be committed to a smoothie diet. We always want to support our customers to be safe and healthy regardless of their choices. That’s why we’re focusing on how to fix one of the unspoken dangers smoothies pose: tooth damage.

Healthy smoothies, including green juices, can damage teeth in ways you don’t think about. They are high in sugar and acid and can be gritty. So here are some tips about drinking them. There are three big tips for smoothie safety: straws, considering the pH and timing your toothbrushing.

Some smoothies can dull and stain your smile. Highly pigmented greens and berries can adhere to tooth enamel. Tannins in citrus combine with the chromogens that give the food color and stick to the enamel. Drinking smoothies through a straw cuts down on the drink’s contact with teeth. Removing tannin-rich citrus fruit from smoothies is also for the best.  

Dr. Sophya Morghem of Sunset Dentistry said that the biggest problem with smoothies is the acidic components. “The main culprits are not just lemons and limes, but can include berries, passionfruit and kiwi. This acid can wear enamel over time by dissolving the mineral structure of teeth.”

Dr. Morghem said drinking smoothies four or five times a week can damage your teeth, especially if they are drank without food. And, she warned, people with GERD or prior tooth erosion shouldn’t drink acidic smoothies.

Yogurt, milk and other nonacidic foods can be added to increase the pH levels. You just need to be sure that you’re adding plain yogurt, so your smoothie doesn’t become a sugary dessert. Spinach, kale and avocado are also great ways to raise the pH of a drink and make it less acidic. Of course, while avocado will make your smoothie deliciously creamy, it will also add many calories.

If you add protein or other powders, smoothies can be gritty and abrasive on teeth. That can cause a buildup of plaque. Protein powders can also be packed full of sugar. When looking to add protein to smoothies, we suggest reaching for protein-rich vegetables instead. But if you like the powders, read the labels and drink a glass of water after your smoothie. While brushing can help protect your teeth, brushing immediately afterward can be harmful. You spread the acid to parts of your mouth it hadn’t reached before. Drink a glass of water and wait ten minutes so your saliva can clear out the acid, then brush your teeth to get off what’s stuck on your teeth.

Green smoothies can be great for gum, jaw and tooth health. But your enamel will suffer if you ignore the sugar, acid and grittiness of them. Enjoy your smoothie, but do so in a way that benefits your oral health instead of damaging it!

Banner image: Jan Sedivy via Unsplash

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