If I were a drink, I’d be a gin and tonic.
Not water or a green tea infused with jasmine, but a crisp G&T with a slice of cucumber. I love them so much, I even have a gin purse (see above).
Cool and delicious, I started drinking G&Ts when vodka oranges didn’t feel (or taste) all that fun anymore.
But according to a Sydney dentist, me and everyone else who fancies G&Ts should stop drinking them immediately.
Naaaaahhhhhhh, I thought. Not going to happen.
Then I saw the photos.
“We’ve all heard of tooth decay but many haven’t heard of tooth erosion. It is when acids in your diet start to dissolve away your teeth – the hardest substance in the human body!! This will happen when the pH drops below 5.5,” he wrote alongside three images of teeth enamel.
The first of Dr Erhlich’s images, which is zoomed in 7000 times on the outer surface of a tooth, shows a tooth that’s been exposed to drinking water with a pH of around seven.
“Note the smooth, intact surface. The way it should be,” he said of the image that kind of looks like how I imagine the ground on Mars would be.
The second image, which resembles a dried up muddy soccer pitch the day after a game, is of a tooth belonging to a human who drank a a sugar free “vodka cruiser” with a pH of just over three.
Then we come to what my teeth might look like under a microscope – a very holey tooth exposed to a G&T, which has a pH of 2.2. Yikes.
Obviously this is very sad news for me, and I’m still struggling to come to terms with it all. Hence, I went straight to the source of the information to get some clarification.
“Studies show that tooth erosion like this affects at least 30 per cent of people. We see it almost every day in practice,” Dr Erhlich told Mamamia.
“Symptoms of tooth erosion include people getting very sensitive teeth, the underlying dentine which is more ‘yellow’ in appearance being exposed, and if they’re grinding their teeth as well as having erosion, you might see a reduction in the height of your teeth.”
Side note – here’s a few other reasons to cut back on the G&Ts or your drink of choice. Post continues after video.
There is a silver lining, however, because it turns out wine drinkers are just as much in trouble us those of us who love G&Ts.
“Depending on the type of wine, the pH can range from approximately 2.3 – 4.3. Because tooth enamel can start to erode at anything lower than 5.5, drinking wine can also cause severe damage,” he said.
As for what to do about tooth erosion and giving your chompers the best chance at a long and healthy life, Dr Erhlich told his followers it’s about moderation.
“You only get one set of adult teeth. If these drinks can dissolve the hardest part of your body it’s scary to think what they would be doing elsewhere. Avoid carbonated and sweetened drinks where possible… If you’re going to have them, drink them through a (biodegradable) straw and chase them with a water.”
Now that, I can do.
Does your oral health concern you? Would this information persuade you to change your choice of beverages?