Summer is in full swing, and so are the barbecues, get-togethers, and beachside vacations. While it’s important to stay hydrated on those hot summer days, many thirst-quenching beverages can also wreck havoc on your family’s teeth. Many cold drinks, while delicious, boast excessive sugar and high acidity levels, which can contribute to cavity-causing tooth decay and can weaken tooth enamel.

Stay hydrated this summer with these 8 simple swaps:

Swap the Sports Drink for Good Ol’ H2O

When it comes to the health of your teeth, and your overall health to boot, nothing tops water. It is pH neutral, there are no sugars added, and it keeps your mouth moist—all critical factors for healthy teeth and gums. Not only that, but it’s free! Sports drinks, on the other hand, pack a hefty punch of being both full of added sugar or sweeteners and being highly acidic. In addition, they simply do not hydrate as effectively as water.

Swap the Soda for Sparkling Water

Sparkling water isn’t as good as regular water, but it’s a big step up from soda. Like sports drinks,soda is highly acidic and full or sugar or sweeteners—not great for your body or your mouth. Sipping on bubbly choices like LaCroix or Perrier can help curb the cravings you have for soda, while providing much-needed summer refreshment.

Swap the Juice for Milk

An easy way to decrease sugar is to swap juice for milk at the breakfast table. Milk is the clear winner when it comes to the health of your teeth—providing fortifying calcium and vitamin D at a fraction of the sugar content of juice. Juice is also typically highly acidic, which can wear down tooth enamel and contribute to decay.

Swap the Mocha Slush for Iced Green Tea

Yes, whipped-cream topped, blended, frozen coffee concoctions are delicious, but they come at a price. The average blended coffee drink contains between 50 and 80 grams of sugar for a 16-ounce size. Can you imagine eating 17 spoonfuls of sugar? That’s basically what you’re doing when you drink an average blended coffee. If you’re craving something cold and caffeinated in the middle of the afternoon, reach for unsweetened iced green tea instead. If you need a little sweetness, consider an alternative to sugar like stevia.

Swap the Store-Bought Smoothie For a Homemade One

If you’re on-the-go and need a liquid breakfast, resist the temptation to pick up a store-bought juice or smoothie and make your own at home. Store-bought smoothies contain—you guessed it—high amounts of sugar by volume. A homemade smoothie is much less expensive and will contain more fiber and less sugar than the pre-made variety. An easy variation is to blend a frozen banana with milk and a handful of strawberries.

Swap the Regular Soda in Your Cocktail for a Diet One

If you’re enjoying cocktails on a hot summer night, try to use a mixer that doesn’t contain sugar. Diet sodas, club soda, and sparkling water all make great alternatives. Remember to drink water in between cocktails to help wash the alcohol off of the surface of your teeth and to help stay hydrated.

Swap the Sugar-Laden Frozen Mixes for Low-Sugar Beverages

In the mood for a tropical drink? Skip the pre-made pina colada mix and blend your rum with a low-sugar alternative. The average pina colada mix can pack 32 to 50 grams of sugar per serving. On the other hand, the Bai Puna Pineapple Coconut drink—for example—contains only 1 gram of sugar per serving and tastes delicious! Your taste buds will never know the difference, but your teeth sure will.

Swap the Energy Drink for a Green Smoothie

If you regularly reach for an afternoon energy drink, you may be dousing your teeth in more sugar than you realize. On top of that, they are typically highly acidic as well. If you need a pick-me-up, try making a green smoothie instead. Blend water with a handful of greens (like kale or spinach) and a cup of frozen pineapple, and add some fresh ginger for added zing. You’ll be doing your body and your mouth a favor by hydrating and getting in some greens at the same time.

Learn more about keeping your teeth and gums happy and healthy by visiting https://murdochdds.com/.

Dr. Richard A. Murdoch and his fabulous team keep their patient’s smiles in top-notch shape in Centennial, CO and Glendale, CO.