Kombucha is the wellness drink of the moment, and for good reason. The fermented tea is rich in probiotics and prebiotics, which help increase the good bacteria in the gut, improving digestion and overall health. But if you really love kombucha, sad news: it may not be as great for your teeth.
"The dominant type of bacteria in kombucha creates acetic acid," Jeffery Sulitzer, DMD, chief clinical officer at SmileDirectClub, told POPSUGAR. "On the pH scale, white distilled vinegar tests around 2.4 pH. A properly brewed batch of kombucha may fall anywhere from 2.5 to 3.5."
Acid is known to wear down tooth enamel, but "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. 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."
Like other dark beverages, including wine and coffee, kombucha can also cause the surface of your teeth to become discolored. "Because kombucha contains tannins, drinking it over time will stain your pearly whites," Dr. Sulitzer said.
Sipping tea through a straw can help. "Place a straw behind your front teeth, so that the acidic beverage has less of a chance of coming in contact with your teeth," said Tricia Quartey, DMD, FAGD, a spokesperson for the American Dental Association. "After consuming any acidic beverage, it's good to drink fluoridated water, which will rinse your mouth and help keep acids under control."
This helps protect that precious enamel, which not only makes your teeth appear whiter, but also serves as a barrier against bacteria that can cause cavities and infection, Dr. Quartey explained. So, have your kombucha — but not without taking some precautions.