Kombucha Is Just as Bad for You as Soda, According to Dentists
Trouble in paradise for our favorite fizzy mold tea.
Ten years ago, it had to be so much easier to manage a dentist’s website. All you had to do was make sure that the right address was in the sidebar, upload a couple of stock photos of smiling children, and occasionally write a 500-word blog post about gingivitis that included at least one all-caps reference to the office phone number, and at least one stock photo of a smiling child.
Now, though, even dentists have to worry about CONTENT, and they have to worry about SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION and they really have to worry about KOMBUCHA. Dr. Larry Molenda, a dentist in San Marcos, Texas, has an article on his website called “Kombucha and Your Tooth Enamel,” that outlines his acid-related concerns about everyone’s favorite fizzy mold tea. Wildflower Dental wrote “How Does Drinking Kombucha Affect Your Teeth?,” and San Francisco’s Glen Park Dental spends five paragraphs trying to answer the question “Is Kombucha Bad for Your Teeth?”
Well, is it? According to those three dentists (and quite a few more) the answer is, “Well, it’s definitely not great.” Salon recently spoke to a couple of other oral health professionals about its effect on our mouths, and they both cited kombucha’s acidity as a potential concern. “Kombucha is nearly as acidic as a pop and energy drinks,” Dr. Bobby J. Grossi told the outlet. “Acidic drinks mess with the pH level of the saliva which ideally should be 7 or 7.3, when the saliva level becomes more acidic it becomes a breeding ground for bacteria which can take over the mouth.”
Another tooth pro said that he’d seen ‘pitting’ on the enamel of heavy kombucha drinkers, which is superficial damage that can eventually lead to tooth decay.
In February, PopSugar also spoke to two dentists who warned about the potential damage that kombucha could cause. (If we’ve learned anything from television commercials, it’s that the third dentist—any third dentist—would disagree with the entire premise).
"The acidic pH found in kombucha also allows the 'bad' bacteria already found in your mouth to potentially create an unhealthier environment for your gums," Dr. Jeffrey Sulitzer said. "Drinking kombucha can be just as harmful for your teeth as drinking a sugary soda since the net result is lowered pH and the potential of having an increase in tooth decay and gum disease." (It’s probably worth noting that the American Dental Association shared this piece on its own Facebook page.)
So what are you meant to do if you can’t stop, won’t stop with the kombucha? The dentists suggested limiting yourself to versions that are lower in sugar, downing it all in one sitting (to minimize the amount of time that your mouth pH is altered), drinking it through a straw, and rinsing your mouth out with water after you finish the bottle. Orrrr you could just put the kombucha in the trash and stick with water, period.
It’s like you don’t even want your picture to be on a dentist’s website.