Because of the high sugar level, we already know there are connections between soda and diseases like diabetes and obesity, but it is negatively impacting your teeth, as well.
Excessive consumption of soda is one of the leading causes of tooth decay, according to the WDA. Small amounts of soda are typically fine, and usually harmless. It’s when people substitute drinking water and milk for soda that there are bigger problems.
When we talk about tooth decay, there are a couple factors at play. The first factor is the high levels of sugar found in most sodas. Sugar encourages bacteria to form on your teeth and this leads to plaque. Plaque, if left untreated, can lead to cavities, gingivitis and gum disease.
Another leading factor is phosphoric acid that is found in soda. Its high acidity level can cause your tooth enamel to erode. It softens the enamel which can lead to cavities and even makes it easier for your enamel to succumb to trauma.
Lastly, soda stains your teeth. As mentioned before the increased sugar can lead to more bacteria in your mouth, which after some time can give your teeth a yellow appearance.
Drinks like soda and energy drinks can actually speed up the process of dehydration, because of the caffeine it contains. When you’re dehydrated, you’re not producing as much saliva. Saliva is often used to “wash” your teeth and remove some of the plaque and germs in your mouth. When you go an extended time with low levels of saliva, it’s bad news!
Cavities are another side effect of drinking soda. Just like the weakened enamel and tooth decay, cavities are caused from the high levels of sugar and acid.
How to Prevent Soda-Related Issues
The first thing that dentists will tell you is that you need to cut back, or eliminate soda altogether. For most people this is a reasonable thing to do.
However, there will be times that you’re going to want soda, or that might be the only thing available for you to drink. Here are some tips to make this a little easier on your teeth:
- Drink soda in moderation (no more than 12 oz. in a day).
- Do not sip on soda! If you’re going to drink soda, drink it quickly with a meal. If you sip on your soda, you can imagine that its like bathing your teeth in battery acid each time.
- Using a straw will limit the amount of contact your teeth have with the soda, which will lessen the chance of weakened enamel.
- Swish some water in your mouth after drinking the soda. This will dilute the acid and rinse off some of the sugar as well.
- Don’t hold the soda in your mouth for an extended period of time.
- Wait for an hour after drinking soda to brush your teeth. This will give your saliva a chance to do it’s thing first.
- Brush your teeth twice a day. You’ve heard this one before, but it’s important. Especially if you drink soda!
- Consume at least two servings of dairy a day. This will make sure you’re getting the proper amount of calcium you need for strong teeth. Children are especially vulnerable to weaker teeth since they are not adult teeth, and typically not fully developed.
As always, it’s also important to get regular visits in at your dentists office. If you’d like to make an appointment or ask questions about your soda consumption, contact Friendly Dentistry today!