Kombucha: Great for Health, Hard on Teeth (Avoiding Acid Damage from Foods)

Kombucha: Great for Health, Hard on Teeth (Avoiding Acid Damage from Foods)

by Bevon Findley (SU)

Kombucha is a natural fermented tea beverage chock full of helpful probiotics that can aid digestion, help fight candida (a harmful yeast linked to bloating, lower thyroid function and weight gain), boost your mental clarity and possibly even improve your mood. Researchers have noted a strong link between naturally fermented foods such as yogurt, soy sauce, kefir, sauerkraut and miso to longevity. It is believed that this is due to the high ratio of helpful bacteria, as well as vitamins and minerals that may also provide some much needed support for the immune system. The only problem with Kombucha is that it is extremely acidic, due to its naturally low pH level.

Why pH is Important

The lower the pH of a substance, the more acidic, and therefor harder on the enamel that helps to protect your teeth from bacterial decay. Lemons, as a point of reference, have a pH of 2. With an average PH range of 2.5-3.2, kumbocha has roughly the same acidity range of a sugary soda, which is around 2.3 to 2.5.

In a process known as demineralization, acidic foods leech the minerals from the enamel of your teeth when your mouth pH drops below 5.7. This creates tiny micro-pores that can be more easily invaded by the sugar loving, acid secreting bacteria that live in your mouth. The more acid, the greater the damage. The greater the damage, the deeper the bacteria can bore into your teeth, creating more and more tooth decay.

In order to protect your enamel, try cutting back on acid heavy foods such as lemons, soda, fruit juice, grapefruits and red wine. And, if you are going to eat or drink fermented foods in order to reap the health benefits, there are some things you can do to minimize the potential damage to your teeth.

First, brush your teeth before consuming acidic foods and beverages. This actually reduces or removes the biofilm that bacteria use to cling to the smooth surface of your teeth. Brushing before consuming acidic or highly staining foods is actually better than brushing after, because that tends to move the acid around, depositing it onto more of the tooth surfaces.

Next, try to consume the kombucha or other acidic beverages in one sitting rather than sipping on them over the course of a day. After you drink kombucha, soda, lemonade, wine or coffee, make sure to take a moment to rinse out your mouth with water. Sipping water after drinking acidic foods can help dilute the acidic reaction. It can also be discreetly swallowed at a meal without attracting any attention (as opposed to a rinse and spit). If you do brush, allow at least 30 minutes to pass so that enamel can begin to re-harden. Additionally, be sure to talk to your dentist about the best ways to protect your teeth from acidic foods and drink.

If you have any questions about kombucha or other drinks, dental enamel or anything else related to your dental care, please call us at (541) 689-1645 or Request an appointment online today. Dr. Binder is an experienced, caring dentist with the advanced skills needed to give you the healthy, lovely smile you deserve.