Sure, fruit juices, soft drinks and teas taste great, but here’s a fact that might be harder to swallow: These thirst-quenchers often erode your teeth.

Dental erosion is a chemical process that triggers a loss of protective enamel on teeth, which leaves them sensitive, cracked and discolored. Dental experts believe that this occurs when bacterial plaque on the teeth absorbs sugar from food and drinks.

In addition, the beverages often contain acid—mostly phosphoric acid, the main flavoring agent in soft drinks—that erodes a tooth’s surface.

What can you do? Use fluoridated toothpaste and mouthwash. Fluoride strengthens tooth enamel and helps prevent decay. Docs also suggest that you avoid brushing your teeth for about 30 minutes after drinking a glass of juice or soda so that the minerals in your saliva can replenish your teeth’s enamel.

But if you’re really worried about tooth erosion, it’s best to talk to your dentist.

Read RH’s “What’s Behind Your Smile?” to learn more about oral health.