is root beer good for your teeth

It is essential to follow preventive care and protect the enamel from getting demineralized. Many people do not understand the severity of enamel erosion and continue to consume acidic beverages. Root beer is an excellent alternative for conventional soft drinks. Root beer is a traditional soft drink made from the barks of the sassafras tree.

Many clinical research studies have proven that root beer causes minimal to no enamel damage. Moreover, it is considered as the safest soft drink for enamel protection. Today’s article will highlight the possible signs of enamel erosion and focus on root beer as an alternative to prevent enamel erosion.

Enamel is the hardest substance in our body. It is often the first line of defense for the teeth against many different chemicals that those teeth are exposed to in the mouth. As a result, prolonged exposure of acidic drinks can significantly affect the enamel. One of such dental problems is enamel erosion. Enamel erosion is a process of enamel demineralization which can lead to tooth sensitivity and stains. Enamel is a non-regenerative part of the tooth.

What is enamel erosion?

Enamel erosion is an irreversible type of tooth wear that occurs due to the chemical dissolution of enamel by acids.  Enamel erosion is a chronic dental issue which mainly affects children between the age 5-17 years. (1) Often, enamel erosion initially begins by eroding the surface layer and making it thin. As the acid erosion progresses, it may involve the underlying dentin, giving the tooth a dull yellow appearance. Additionally, enamel erosion can cause dentin hypersensitivity.

What causes enamel erosion?

One of the prime cause of enamel erosion are acids found in the foods and drinks consumed by people regularly. Saliva constantly neutralizes the acids in the mouth. However, the consumption of too many acidic food and drinks, followed by improper dental care can lead to enamel erosion over time. Some of the causes of enamel erosion may include –

  • Food rich in sugar like ice cream, syrups, and caramel
  • Food rich in carbohydrate like white bread
  • Acidic food such as citrus fruits berries and apple (2)
  • Soda or any fizzy drinks
  • Teeth grinding
  • Bulimia or Chronic acid reflux
  • Dry mouth
  • Medications like aspirin and antihistamines

What is root beer?

Root beer is a sweet soft drink which is traditionally made from the barks of the sassafras tree. Often root beer is non-alcoholic and may contain caffeine. Some commercial root beers use safrole – free sassafras extract. Most of the varieties of root beer are non-carbonated, and this is one of the reasons why they are considered safe for the teeth.

Why is root beer the safest soft drink for teeth?

Dental erosions are characterized by typical scooped out or smooth depressions i=on the surface of the tooth caused by enamel wear. This dental condition is caused by the consumption of sugary and acidic drinks.

Most of the soft drinks in the market contain 9-12 teaspoons of sugar. Additionally, it consists of an acidity level that approaches the level of battery acid. For example, cola drink rank 2.39 on the acid scale as compared to battery acid, which ranks 1.0. (3)

Often people switch to diet drinks to curtail tooth damage. However, diet drink contains phosphoric acid or citric acid, which readily damages the enamel layer. Drinking such type of soft drinks can pose a significant risk to the health of the teeth.

Many clinical studies have reported that root beer favors the oral environment and is safe for the teeth. Some of the reasons for this study include –

  • Non-carbonated nature of root beer
  • Root beer is prepared from natural ingredients
  • It doesn’t contain artificial sugar which is harmful to enamel
  • It is non-acidic and non-alcoholic

Clinical use of root beer has shown no signs of enamel wear or tooth damage. Moreover, root beer helps in maintaining the neutral pH of the saliva. (4) The best way to protect the tooth from enamel erosion is to drink water or milk. If you urge to drink soft drinks switch to more natural beverages like root beer.

How can you prevent enamel erosion?

Enamel is the only layer in the tooth made from non-living cells; it is a non-regenerative layer of the tooth. Therefore, it is essential to protect the enamel by all means. Enamel erosion is a chronic disease and takes a long time to cause severe tooth damage. Proper prevention and planning can help to protect the tooth from further damage.

Some of the preventive tips to avoid enamel erosion include –

  • Consume soda in moderation – limit the consumption of soda to one drink per day
  • Try to drink quickly to allow less time exposure of the sugar and acids to the tooth surface
  • Use a straw to avoid direct contact of the acidic contents of soda on the toot surface
  • Rinse your mouth with water to flush away the residual acid in the mouth
  • Do not brush immediately after drinking soda. Brushing instantly can aggravate enamel erosion, therefore wait for at least after consumption of soda.
  • Avoid drinking soft drinks before bedtime
  • Switch to refreshing beverages like cold water, milk or root beer
  • Visit your dentist for regular dental cleanings.

Take away message

When the acidic content exceeds in the mouth, it reacts with the enamel layer to cause acid erosion. The acid content in the mouth is increased by the consumption of food and drinks that are rich in sugar and carbohydrate. Moreover, fizzy or carbonated drinks can also cause tooth wear. Root beer is one of the safest soft drink for teeth.

It is made from natural barks of sassafras tree and it non-carbonated which adds up to its value. Many clinical studies have proved that root beer is ineffective in causing enamel erosion. Consult your dentist to get more information about nutritious food and drinks that are good for your oral health.