Is Soda Really Bad For Your Teeth?
It goes by different names—soda, pop, soda pop, soft drinks… But it is all the same when it comes to its effect on your teeth. You may be thinking that your teeth feel fine and healthy, but these beverages cause damage slowly- so slowly that you would not notice it for years.
So, exactly how are these sugary drinks bad for your teeth?
They Soften Your Enamel
Sugary sodas have not only served up a large portion of the nation’s obesity problems, but the acidic sugar byproducts and acid reactions soften your tooth enamel, which contributes to more cavities. Dr. Gemmi adds, “When your tooth enamel gets softer, it makes brushing even harder on your teeth creating an unwanted one/two punch.”
When you drink a sugary beverage, the naturally occurring bacteria in your mouth react to it- resulting in an outbreak of acid that lasts around 20 minutes- damaging your teeth the entire time.
What about sugar-free drinks (which only account for around 14% of all soda consumption)? Well, they’re less harmful, but sugar-free sodas also are acidic and can erode your enamel in the same way. Every time you take a sip of soda, the bacteria in your mouth start reacting to it.
Who Drinks the Most Soda?
The amount of soft drinks we consume in the United States continues to increase dramatically—especially among teenagers and children. The problem is becoming so prevalent that the American Academy of Pediatrics is now sounding an alarm about the dangers, and suggesting better guidelines for helping children create good beverage habits.
Studies show that at least one in five children consumes a minimum of four servings of pop each day! Some teenagers drink much, much more. And college students often study and/or socialize for hours on end bathing their teeth in soft drinks.
The CDC reported that men are much more likely to consume sugary drinks, with teenage boys being the most likely out of everyone to have a soda a day. By doing this, they are constantly exposing their teeth to erosion and damaging them- causing teeth issues to pop-up down the line.
Soda Can Lead to Cavities
Soft drinks can also lead to cavities. They erode through the outer enamel of your teeth and through the next layer, called dentin. Damage at this level is perfect for creating cavities, plus soda can even damage your fillings, if you already have them.
The sugars in soda are so bad for your teeth, but you can help reduce the damage done by practicing good oral hygiene. A specialist from Orthodontics Limited can recommend and provide orthodontic care for any problems caused by drinking soda too frequently.
Limit Damage While Drinking
Even knowing all this, it can be hard to eliminate sodas completely from our diets. They are addictive and plenty of people enjoy drinking them. Fortunately, you can limit the damage these drinks cause.
Using a straw is a simple trick. Doing this helps keep the sugars away from your teeth and can limit contact. You also will want to drink your soda quickly. This gives sugars and acids less time to react and erode your teeth. You also want to make your dental check-ups to catch any teeth issues before they spread.
Finally, rinse your mouth with water afterward, if you can. This washes away any acid attacking your teeth and ends the reaction from sugar.
Keep in mind that you should not brush your teeth immediately after drinking something sugary. Your teeth are vulnerable in this state and brushing them scratches at your enamel.
What Else Can You Do?
Here are some extra steps you can take to avoid tooth decay from sugary drinks.
- Reduce the amount of sugar you drink
- Find substitutes you enjoy that are more healthy
- Don’t forget to schedule regular dental checkups
- Drink more water, it will help take away your cravings for soda
- Use fluoride toothpastes and/or mouth rinses
Substitutes for Soda
If you find yourself constantly craving soda, you are not alone. Many Americans are also addicted to these sugary beverages. These drinks will not give you the hydration that plain water can, so you may still be thirsty after drinking a can of pop.
These alternatives are healthier and can help quench your cravings for soda:
- Sparkling water
- Coconut water
- Homemade Infused Water
- Juiced Vegetables
- Hot teas
So, is Soda Really Bad for Your Teeth?
Yes! Soda is damaging and erodes your enamel. People often crave the sugars in soda, however, meaning that it can be difficult to quit drinking them entirely.
Try drinking alternatives or practicing good oral hygiene after drinking soda by rinsing your mouth with water or using a straw. Your teeth will thank you!
You may remember doing the egg in soda experiment in school, keep in mind that your teeth do not sit in sugary drinks for as long, but the damage is still being done over time. If you have a child or teen who is constantly drinking soda, going through this experiment with them can be eye-opening to the harm they are causing their teeth.
Everyone wants their best possible smile, but you need to be sure to take care of your teeth! Having bad oral hygiene only exasperates the issues soda causes to your teeth. Knowing this, you should do your best to protect your teeth, so that they can last you your lifetime. Orthodontics Limited can help!
Here at Orthodontics Limited, although we are primarily concerned with straightening your teeth, we want to do everything we can to help you keep your beautiful smile for life. If you have questions about different beverages and their effect on your teeth, be sure to ask us. We love talking to you, our valued patients, about your oral health.