Whether you refer to them as soft drinks, pop, or soda … regular consumption can have devastating effects on your teeth. The sugar and acid in soft drinks are the culprits. Regular visits to the dentist and an effective daily oral care regimen can help to negate some of the damage done, but you may still suffer from the two most serious side effects of soda consumption … cavities and enamel erosion.
Cavities are also referred to as dental caries or dental decay. They can occur when there is a break in the protective enamel covering of the tooth. A breach in dental enamel can occur for many reasons, but when discussing the effects of soda on teeth, it often occurs when enamel is eroded due to frequent soda consumption.
Soda contains sugar (or sugar substitutes in the case of diet soda) and phosphoric acid (the element that gives soda carbonation). The sugar mingles with bacteria already living in your mouth to form acid … over time, those acids contribute to enamel erosion and dental decay.
While dental decay is a serious problem, enamel erosion can also lead to sensitivity; teeth discoloration and stain; and when enamel is weakened due to erosion, broken teeth and cavities can occur.
Soda consumption can become somewhat addictive which makes the soda habit a hard one to break for many. So while the obvious solution is to stop drinking soda, this is not a practical solution for many. Other helpful hints that will help to control some of the damage include:
Don’t sip – the longer it takes to drink, the more time the acids have to damage and erode enamel.
Use a straw – much of the beverage will bypass teeth limiting the time your teeth are exposed.
Drink in moderation – this is probably easier said than done. Many soda drinkers crave their beverage so the occasional glass may not feel satisfactory.
Rinse after you drink – It is better to rinse than to brush as your enamel may be softened by your beverage. Wait at least thirty minutes before brushing.
Maintaining healthy teeth and gums is important for overall health; a great smile; and the ability to eat the foods you love. Brush and floss every day, limit soda consumption, and see our team at Friendly Dental Care every six months for cleaning and exam.