Detox water (also known as skinny water) is promoted as a great all natural way to cleanse the body and lose weight. These do-it-yourself fruit and herb infused water concoctions are supposed to be great for your overall health, but there’s one problem: detox water can be really bad for your teeth!
Perhaps the most common ingredient in detox water recipes is lemons, though other citrus fruits such as limes, grapefruit, and oranges also make an appearance. Citrus fruits are acidic: they contain citric acid. However, what you might not know is that lots of other fruits are highly acidic too, including pineapples, mangoes, peaches, pomegranates and even blueberries. Some recipes even call for apple cider vinegar, which is also acidic.
Acid is one of your smile’s greatest enemies. Acids can eat through the hard outer enamel layer of your teeth, causing spots, cavities, and a great place for tooth decay-causing bacteria to start an infection. (Fun fact: It’s actually acid that links sugar to tooth decay. The existing bacteria in your mouth consume the sugar and excrete acid as a byproduct, right onto your teeth. Lovely, right?)
So, it turns out, depending on the ingredients, detox water is a nice tasty erosion-causing acid bath for your teeth. Okay, that may be a little dramatic, but detox water certainly puts your teeth at higher risk for tooth decay than plain clean water.
The truth is, detox water (like most flavored drinks) are fine in moderation. Unfortunately, moderation is not what a lot of detox water lovers recommend. A lot of instructions for detox water suggest sipping it all day long. That means repeatedly subjecting your teeth to an acidic environment!
Drinking detox water is okay, and will probably benefit your health by keeping your better hydrated (other health claims are dubious, but that’s another story). Your dentist just asks you to be sensible about it. Just like we recommend not snacking between meals, we also suggest not drinking detox water between meals. This will give your teeth “time off” from being covered in acids, sugars, etc. Most dentists will tell you that the only thing you should be sipping on all day is water. Consider drinking a detox water with breakfast, then brushing your teeth and going about your day with a fun, well-designed bottle of fruit-free water instead.
If you have a detox water habit you just can’t shake, there are some steps you can take to reduce its impact on your teeth. One way is to use a straw, which helps keep the liquid from hitting your teeth directly. You can also flush your mouth with plain water every time you drink the detox water, to help wash away the acid and any sugars. However, remember that the primary way that detox water “draws out toxins” and improves your health is by encouraging you to consume more water. When it doubt, regular fluoridated tap water is your smile’s best friend.