This post was written by Dr. Kayee Ho Herzberg from Ken Caryl Dentistry in Littleton, Colorado. If you’re ever in need of dental services in the shadow of the Rockies, be sure to visit Dr. Herzberg and tell her that Dr. Bill (her classmate at University at Buffalo School of Dental Medicine) says hi!
HOW DOES KOMBUCHA AFFECT YOUR TEETH?
Kayee Ho Herzberg, DDS
Recently, one of my patients came in for her routine six months hygiene appointment. During her exam, I diagnosed several cavities. We were not sure why she now had tooth decay, after many years without having any cavities. She is very health conscious, has good oral home care, and did not think any habits have changed. I started asking her different questions about her diet. She realized the one thing that she has been doing differently in the last year was drinking kombucha daily. Lately, kombucha has been gaining a lot of popularity for all it’s health benefits. Many people are adding probiotics to their diet to provide their gut with “good bacteria” to aid in digestion and overall health. As a dentist, I even started making kombucha myself. So I decided to do a little research, to see what are the effects of kombucha on your teeth.
It’s no secret that sugary drinks, like sodas and juices, are bad for your health and teeth. Many of us try to replace our cravings for sweet beverages with healthier options like unsweetened tea and now fermented tea. Kombucha is a fermented, carbonated black or green tea that has many health claims such as: improving immunity, increasing energy levels, and improving digestion. You can buy Kombucha or make it at home.
Is Kombucha bad for your teeth?
Kombucha is a very acidic drink. It is nearly as acidic as soda. Consuming anything acidic contributes to enamel erosion and lowers the pH of saliva and plaque, creating an environment in which teeth demineralize, the first stage of tooth decay.
How to get the benefits of consuming kombucha and minimize the effect on your oral health
- Drink it with your meal- try to consume your glass of kombucha in one sitting rather than sipping it all day. Sipping it slowly over prolonged periods will produce a longer constant acidic environment causing more demineralization of the enamel.
- Avoid flavored kombucha- it might taste better to have the different flavored kombuchas, but the flavored versions are sweetened and may have added fruits. Try the original tea flavor without additional sweetening or make your own.
- Rinse with water- always rinse or drink water after your kombucha to help neutralize the acidic environment in the mouth and on the teeth.
- Avoid brushing for 30 minutes after drinking kombucha- It might be tempting to brush your teeth right after to help reduce cavities, but it is best to avoid brushing your teeth for 30 minutes. It is not advisable to brush your teeth soon after having something acidic because it can erode the surface of your teeth even more. If the surface of your teeth is weakened due to exposure to acidic pH levels, brushing them will abrade the weakened the surface. Your saliva needs some time to buffer the acidity and remineralize the enamel.