Drinks are a major part of our lifestyle. We’re not just talking alcoholic drinks, either. Though you might not think Hennessy, Cristal, or the latest artisanal spirit is part of your personal style, you might spend much or your day sharing memes about tea, coffee, or even Diet Coke.
The problem with many of these drinks is that they are bad for your teeth. So many of them are acidic and full of sugars and other carbohydrates that can fuel tooth decay and gum disease.
To try to counter the damaging aspects of popular drinks, a dentist in Australia invented a new soft drink that is designed to be friendly to your teeth. But will it catch on–or will it be like clear coffee (CLR CFF), just another of last year’s trends that never caught fire.
Dr. Angie Lang got the idea for her new “oral hygiene drink,” Swirlit, in 2007. She was working as a dentist and saw many people coming into her office with holes in their teeth. In general, these people were taking good care of their teeth: brushing, flossing, and, obviously, making their regular dental checkups. But they still experienced serious tooth damage. Dr. Lang realized the source of the problem: acid. These people were drinking acidic drinks, and that was eating the enamel off their teeth. And, she realized, all the popular drinks were acidic. Here’s a brief list of all the drinks that are acidic:
- Fruit juice
- Sports drinks
Essentially, any popular drink other than water is likely to be acidic. So she started working on a formula for a tasty and tooth-friendly soft drink.
She worked on the idea for years, and worked out the ingredients before she took it to a lab in the US in 2012. That was the first expensive part of the process, but she knew she couldn’t just abandon her idea, and her husband supported her.
Then, in 2016, they were ready to go into production, but that was another major financial commitment. She decided to sell her house and her dental practice to get her drink to market. She estimates that she and her husband have spent A$700,000 (~$500,000) to get the product ready.
What Are the Benefits?
But does Swirlit really fulfill its goals of being tooth-friendly? Yes, or, at least, it seems so. The drink is based on tea, which is among the least acidic of popular drinks. (Tooth enamel starts to erode when pH drops below 5.5. While brewed black tea has a pH of about 5, a study showed that the pH at the tooth only drops down to about 5.45 when drinking tea, and neutral pH is restored within a couple minutes.) The company’s website doesn’t explicitly state that Swirlit’s pH is 7, but it does say on numerous occasions that it is “pH neutral,” so we’ll assume that means it’s pH 7.
In addition, the drink is sweetened with xylitol, which has a protective effect on your teeth, suppressing the ability of oral bacteria to generate tooth-damaging acid.
Dr. Lang also claims that drinking Swirlit makes your mouth feel fresh. It can combat oral bacteria and bad breath. We don’t know if that is true.
But Is It Cool?
This is the big question about Swirlit: is it cool enough to catch on? Certainly, the drink has a certain style to it. The flavors are unique: peach and rooibos, cinnamon and green tea, rose and white tea, and blueberry and black tea. But we haven’t had a chance to try it. (Right now, it’s only available in Australia, though US distribution deals are supposedly in the works.) The brand’s Instagram is fun and fresh. But is that enough?
Hard to say, but if it does come to the US, we will evaluate it again.
We do know something else that’s cool and helps preserve your dental health: regular checkups with Fairfax County dentist Dr. Pamela Marzban. Please call 703-349-4277 today for an appointment at the office of Dr. Marzban.