In the US, about 50% of adults and 60% of youth consume a sugary drink on a daily basis. This is more often than not in the form of a soda. While most associate obesity and weight gain to high-sugar soft drinks, soda can also impact your smile and oral health. Our friends at Vipcare Dental Ocala have come up with tips on how to be smart with soda so you don’t end up losing teeth.
How Does Soda Effect Your Teeth?
We are all well aware of the high sugar content in soda. As you consume it, the sugar starts to interact with bacteria present in your mouth. With the two interacting, acid is formed. This acidthen starts to attack your teeth. But that isn’t all, soda itself contains different acids that also try to penetrate the enamel of your teeth.
The damaging reaction caused by the acids formed and within soda last for about 20 minutes each time you consume soda. So if you consume it all day long, then your teeth have little to no chance to stand against the constant attack from the acid.
What Problems Can Soda Cause to Your Teeth?
Soda can lead to two major oral problems which are enamel erosion and cavities.
- Enamel Erosion: The enamel of the teeth is the outermost layer that protects the dentin and nerves, making sure they aren’t exposed. As you start to consume soda, the acids that are introduced to your mouth start to tear away at the enamel. With proper brushing and flossing, the enamel can stay intact. However, if you constantly expose the enamel to acids, it starts to erode. The hardness of the surface is reduced and it starts to break away. Which then exposes the dentin and nerves causing teeth sensitivity and other problems.
- Cavities: As your enamel starts to erode, it leaves the main body of your teeth vulnerable to cavities,especially if you continue to consume soda after the enamel erodes. The sugar from soda and other food helps bacteria form cavities in your teeth. If not treated, the cavities expand to the nerves of the teeth leading to infection and abscess.
Excessive consumption of soda more often than not leads to bad oral hygiene. Your teeth are no match for the acids found in soda. Which is why it is important you take the proper measures to prevent soda from causing such damage.
Preventing Damage Caused by Soda
It isn’t easy to drop the habit of drinking soda altogether. Most people have trouble with such a commitment. However, you can take steps to curb the habit and protect your teeth. It starts with:
- Control how much you drink: Drinking in moderation is important, you don’t want to have more than one glass of soda a day. One glass is damaging but you can control the impact of it with a proper oral regimen.
- Drink soda quickly: The longer you take to drink soda; the more time it has to wreak havoc on your teeth. You should drink it quickly, don’t take too long between sips. This will ensure that the acid doesn’t attack your teeth for a longer period of time.
- Drink with a straw: The straw will protect your teeth somewhat as it won’t expose all of it to the soda. When you drink with a straw, the soda won’t interact with the front end of your teeth as much, shielding it in a way.
- Rinse afterward: You should rinse your mouth with water after you have a soda. This will help get rid of sugar and acids that are left over, preventing them from attacking the teeth.
- Don’t brush immediately: Most people would think that brushing after consuming soda will help fight the acids but that is not true. Brushing immediately after can cause more damage due to how vulnerable your teeth are due to exposure to the acid. You should wait at least 30 minutes after having a soda to brush your teeth.
- Don’t drink before you sleep: Having soda before you sleep with allow the acid and sugar to constantly attack your teeth throughout the night.
- Go for regular dental checkups: You should make sure to visit a dentist on a regular basis so they can detect if there is any damage caused by consumption of soda. This will also ensure your teeth are in good health, tackling any problem that may occur before it becomes too serious.
Be Smart About Soda
While all sodas are acidic, there are some that are less acidic than others. The Mississippi State Department of Health puts both Coca-Cola and Pepsi on top of the most acidic soda list. While options such as Sprite, Diet Dr. Pepper, and Diet Coke are lower in that list.
Consuming soda is not recommended but if you can’t stop the habit then you should drinkthose that are less acidic. This will give your teeth some break as it fights the acids that you introduce each time you consume soda. It will slightly lessen the impact the soda has on your teeth helping you maintain your pearly whites.
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