Kombucha – Healthy or Harmful For Your Teeth?

It seems like everyone is trying to get an edge when it comes to improving their health, and often the first step for individuals seeking to be healthier is to reevaluate their beverage consumption. Instead of sodas and coffee, people are turning to organic and probiotic drinks to boost their immune system and aid in digestion. One such drink that has grown in popularity recently is kombucha.

Kombucha, for those of you not familiar with the drink, is a fermented drink made from bacteria and yeast mixed with black or green tea and sugar. The sugary mix transforms into kombucha due to the symbiotic relationship between the bacteria and yeast. And, many people swear by the health benefits. Some supposed benefits of the drink, including improve digestion and immune function, as well as a healthy dose of vitamin B and certain acids. We’re not going to debate these health claims, but we are going to dive into the topic of whether the drink is healthy or harmful for your teeth.

Kombucha and Your Teeth

As you might have guessed, when you read the word “sugar” in the above paragraph, dentists aren’t huge fans of kombucha. Nothing it provides in the way of vitamins or nutrients for your teeth outweigh the dangers you’re exposing your mouth too if you routinely consume kombucha. There are plenty of drinks out there that are worse for you than kombucha, so we’re not going tell you never to drink it, but like most things in life, consume it in moderation and be smart about how and when you drink kombucha.

Before we share some tips on how to best drink it, let’s take a closer look at why it can be problematic for your teeth. Interestingly, it’s not the sugar content that is of most concern, because sodas and coffee creamers are packed with more tooth-rotting sugar than kombucha. Instead, it’s the acidity. Due to its contents, kombucha needs to have a pH level of below 3.5 on the pH scale in order to prevent harmful bacteria growth. The lower the number on the scale, the higher the acidity. For example, water has a pH level of 7, tea is about a 6, and vinegar, a highly acidic liquid, comes in at a 2. So when you consider properly made kombucha comes in with at highest a 3.5 pH level, you can see it’s very acidic.

This acid can cause several problems for your teeth. The higher the acid content, the more damage it does to our teeth’s enamel, the outer layer of the tooth. Once you lose this enamel, it’s gone forever, and losing it can increase tooth sensitivity and contribute to cavities. The drink may have other health benefits, but it will take a toll on your tooth enamel if you’re not careful.

Tips to Protect Your Teeth

How can you drink kombucha and still protect your teeth? There are several suggestions for limiting the damage the drink’s acid content can have on your mouth. When drinking kombucha, do so:

  • In moderation, not as your primary daily beverage.
  • Alongside a glass of water, to help wash acid off your teeth’s surfaces.
  • With a meal, as food can help to remove acid from your teeth’s surfaces.

So at the end of the day, as long as you drink kombucha in moderation and practice good dental habits, we’re confident you can enjoy the drink and help to protect your teeth. For more information or to set up an appointment with Dr. Brooks, contact our team today.