Ask the Pharmacist: 9 ways you ruin your teeth

Suzy Cohen

You may unknowingly be hurting your teeth with everyday things, for example drinking kombucha. Enamel is the protective hard coating on the outside of your teeth and when it comes off, tooth erosion occurs and cavities form.

Open mouth and teeth during checkup

Several health articles have come out recently, warning about kombucha and its potentially detrimental effects on teeth. The same enamel damage can be done by eating citrus fruits, drinking fruit juice, drinking coffee, carbonated water or soda. Protect your teeth if you love these drinks: Drink water afterwards to rinse and neutralize all the acid. Find unsweetened brands and don't sip it all day. Drink your kombucha (or other acidic drink) very quickly.

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Wait 30 minutes to brush your teeth because your enamel is most vulnerable when it has just been exposed to acidic beverages and brushing it may aggravate the enamel at its weakest moment. So rinse with water immediately after drinking, and then brush your teeth 30 minutes later. 


They have anti-cholinergic side effects which cause dry mouth through the reduction of saliva production. But it’s the saliva that helps control bacterial growth in your mouth and saliva contains compounds that allow for re-mineralization (strengthening) of your teeth.
Biting fingernails: This can crack or splinter enamel, especially if it’s been primed by acidic drinks, and therefore weak to begin with. 

Brushing your teeth immediately

Scrubbing your dental enamel right after drinking anything acidic can hurt the enamel. 

Drinking coffee or wine

It stains your teeth and makes you look older. The trouble is that routinely whitening them with peroxide strips isn’t so great either.

Osteoporosis medications

Some of these drugs have been shown to have a detrimental impact on jaw bone, especially in patients who have had their teeth pulled.

Fruit drinks and juice boxes

The kids love these things, but again, the fruit juices are very acidic, and full of sugar so it’s a twofold blow upon their developing teeth! 


This is the term for dry mouth and low salivary flow, which can be caused by medications as well as some disorders. This can be caused by a multitude of conditions among them, pre-diabetes, diabetes, stroke, thrush, Candida, Alzheimer's disease, Sjogren's syndrome or hypothyroidism (low thyroid hormone). 

Snoring or sleep apnea

It causes you to sleep with your mouth open and this leads to dry mouth, and this can cause your enamel to suffer from the lack of saliva. 


Your stomach acid is way more corrosive than soda, kombucha, fruit juice and sparkling water! When you have reflux, the stomach acid which has a pH of two flows up your esophagus and may get into your mouth and hurt your teeth. 

It probably goes without saying, but see your dentist routinely and eat a healthy balanced diet. Consider foods that are high in minerals like calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and selenium. Vitamin D and CoQ10 are also useful for general dental health.

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Suzy Cohen is a registered pharmacist. The information presented here is not intended to treat, cure or diagnose any condition. Visit