An End to Kombucha For Me

As a young adult and into my early thirties I was a more-often-than-regular visitor to the dentist. I was on a six-monthly checkup schedule with most visits requiring multiple fillings. I was told I had acidic saliva – whatever that meant – and was given no further advice, other than reducing sugar in my diet (which I was already doing).

The condition of my teeth seemed to improve a few months after I started supplementing with calcium – I have never been big on dairy, so this didn’t come as a surprise to me. My checkup schedule went back to the usual annual and a few times no dental work was even required. I thought I had turned a corner! Happily so!!

So it was a surprise to start having issues again this year. Today I have been in to have a crack and broken corner sorted. And I am booked in to fix another cracked tooth in a month’s time.

Yes it could just be wear and tear (although I still consider myself young at 42). But I got to thinking… The main change I have made in the last six months is brewing my own kombucha; I have about half a glass most afternoons.

Time for some research!

Kombucha and Sugar

We have had drilled into us that sugar is bad for our teeth. We know this.

Although different brands of kombucha vary in sugar content, most home brewed kombucha has very little sugar, which gets eaten by bacteria in the fermentation process. It does depend on how much sugar you start off with, how long you brew it for, the ambient temperature and how active your scoby is. A one litre batch made with 1/4 c sugar (which is what I was doing) and brewed for 7-10 days, results in kombucha with about 1% sugar. I was brewing mine for around five days on average so it would have a slightly higher sugar content than this I imagine.

Brought kombucha can range from 0.1 g sugar per 100 ml (I Quit Sugar approved Remedy), 1% for Lo Bros and 2-3% Good Buzz, to over 6% (US based Wonder Drink).

Kombucha and Carbonation

Next. We all know that kombucha is fizzy – this is carbonation, which naturally occurs from the fermentation process. It turns out that carbonation may cause teeth enamel to break down – one reason for cracked teeth! The pH level of a drink tends to decrease (become more acidic) when there is more carbonation.

A properly brewed batch of kombucha may have a pH level of anywhere from 2.5-3.5 (acidic) – 7 is neutral. The low pH of kombucha is actually necessary to maintain healthy microbial activity in this live drink.

It’s interesting to note that sparkling water has similar carbonation issues – more so if it is citrus flavoured, which increases the acidity further. It’s nowhere near as bad as sugary fizz but regular water is still better.

the solution

If you carry on drinking kombucha it is recommended to:

  1. Drink it all at one time rather than sipping throughout the day.
  2. When you finish a drink of kombucha, rinse your mouth out with a glass of filtered water to remove any sugars and the acidic components from your mouth.
  3. After drinking kombucha wait at least 30 minutes before eating (allowing time for teeth enamel to harden again).
  4. Also wait for 30 minutes before brushing your teeth. (If you brush your teeth while they are temporarily weakened you could increase the loss of enamel).

For me – all of this involves just too much coordination! And I’m an organised person!!! But I am also a mum and run my own business from home – with many distractions.

I’ll keep doing other things I’m doing for my gut health like probiotics and chicken broth (my lunch today) but it is farewell to kombucha for me. Well – maybe the occasional glass of Remedy, but it’s no longer going to be a daily habit.

Sources:

  1. https://www.choice.com.au/food-and-drink/nutrition/superfoods/articles/kombucha
  2. https://drtungs.com/blog/kombucha-and-teeth-how-to-maintain-good-oral-health/
  3. https://orawellness.com/how-to-drink-kombucha-and-not-destroy-your-teeth/
  4. http://www.sarahwilson.com/2014/02/how-to-make-almost-sugar-free-fermented-kombucha/
  5. https://www.colgate.com/en-us/oral-health/conditions/tooth-sensitivity/is-sparkling-water-bad-for-your-teeth–

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