It’s interesting that although dentistry is a business, I would prefer not to see some of my patients as often as I do. This goes against business logic, but my goal is to actually have your family spend less time and money at the dentist.
There is something easy you can encourage your family to do to preserve the health of their teeth. The number one habit you can break today is “sipping,” or drinking a beverage over the course of several hours of instead of consuming it within a few minutes.
That beverage that lingers on your desk all day, in your child’s sippy cup, or that has a permanent home on countertops or sofa tables around your home can unwittingly cause serious damage to your teeth over time. It may surprise you to learn I am not going to try to pry those drinks from your hands. Although I would recommend water over canned and bottled beverages for obvious reasons, when you choose something else to drink I would simply like to encourage you to drink it all at once for the health of your teeth.
The logic behind this is simple. Sipping allows a beverage to continually wash over the surface of your teeth, increasing tooth decay. Juice, milk, regular and diet soda, coffee and tea, sports drinks, lemonade, fruit-flavored kids drinks, and baby formula are all culprits that contain harmful sugars, artificial sweeteners, or high levels of acidity that damage the protective enamel on your teeth, leading to decay. Using a straw isn’t much better. It may allow the liquid to bypass your front teeth, but it still pools around your back teeth, or molars. Repeated exposure to the sugars and acids in these liquids is also the reason pediatricians advise parents against sending children to bed with a bottle of formula or juice.
Chances are you are already aware of how sugar, artificial sweeteners, and caffeine affect your body and overall health. What surprises people is just how much damage “sipping” their favorite beverage does over time compared to the simple act of drinking it all at once.
Remember, I am not only here to maintain and repair your teeth and keep your smile healthy, but to give you the tools to stay out of the dentist’s chair as much as possible.
So the next time you crack open a can of soda, think of what you have just learned. This one small change in your daily habits can save you both wear on your teeth and time in my chair. I love to see my patients, but it’s my job to prevent problems that can easily be avoided!
Until next time,
Dr. Ushma Patel