Store shelves are lined with flavored and sparkling water choices. Although these drinks may all appear to be healthy, some of them are smile-friendly while others can lead to a mouth full of cavities and decay. While the food industry may ignore health, dentists have been paying attention to what we put in our mouths and bodies for years! Here are some tips on how to properly read drink labels for your healthiest, happiest smile.
Watch out for these ingredients!
The next time you purchase flavored or sparkling water, make sure to look at the ingredients list before you choose your drink. Though many beverages may advertise 0g of sugar and 0 calories on the front label, they can hide smile-damaging ingredients on the back. Items like sugar and corn syrup are easy red flags to spot. But, if you’re struggling to make sense of other listed ingredients, remember these two rules to help you choose healthier drinks:
- Avoid –ose: The suffix “-ose” literally means sugar. Ingredients like sucrose, glucose, dextrose, and fructose will contribute to tooth decay and cavities as bacteria in the mouth feed on these sweets.
- Avoid acids: Often acids are added to drinks for flavor or as preservatives. Unfortunately, they erode enamel and damage teeth. Some common offenders include citric acid, phosphoric acid, and malic acid.
While both of the sparkling drinks pictured below have 0 calories and are flavored, one is smile-friendly and the other could cause serious damage to teeth. Which ingredients list is better for oral health—S.Pellegrino on the left or Sparkling Ice on the right?
The S.Pellegrino drink only contains carbonated mineral water, so it is smile-safe. Unfortunately, Sparkling Ice, which may be tempting to consumers due to its “naturally flavored sparkling water” labels, is not smile-safe. In fact, citric acid is the second ingredient!
Some people may assume that fruit-flavored waters are less healthy than other sparkling or flavored water options. However, this isn’t necessarily true, proving once more how important it is to read drink labels for a clearer understanding of a beverage. Pictured below are two different Trader Joe’s flavored waters—one is smile-safe and the other is not.
In this case, the Cranberry-Clementine Sparkling Water is healthier than the Herbal Flavored Water, which has citric acid listed as an ingredient.
Test your label-reading skills!
Is this LaCroix sparkling water smile-safe?
With no acids or sugars listed, LaCroix has our dentists’ approval!
Is this Giant Eagle Fruition drink smile-safe?
This is the perfect example of a brand of sparkling water to avoid! With citric acid listed as the second ingredient and malic acid listed toward the end, this water can easily damage your teeth, enamel, and health.
The bottom line
Even though many drinks appear to be healthy, you won’t know if they are smile-friendly unless you read the ingredients list. Always check your labels! For more personalized insight or to schedule your next appointment, call us today at 614-888-2563.