If you drink soda with sugar throughout the day, then we have news for you. This IS, without doubt, doing a number on your teeth. It’s actually doing double the damage because of two elements:
- Acid (Acid being the real bad egg of the bunch)
Sugar causes tooth decay. You’ve heard it before, but did you know it’s not the actual sugar that is harmful? Here’s what happens when sugar enters your mouth:
The mouth is a rave party of bacteria, some of which are great party goers that help with the digestive process that starts in your mouth. Other bacteria are more easily influenced. When they hang out with sugar at your mouth’s party, they release acid!
Acid is bad news for your teeth. Acid eats through the enamel of your teeth, leading to cavities. If not treated, cavities turn into serious problems that lead to the need for crowns, root canals, or tooth removal.
Fun Fact: Each individual sip of soda causes an attack on your enamel for 20 minutes!
The other element is, of course, the acid that already exists in soda! It doesn’t even need sugar to do damage. Soda acid can start eroding your teeth without the aid of sugar. If you think you’re good because you drink diet soda, sadly, you’re not. Diet soda causes cavities, too.
It’s likely that this information doesn’t motivate you to never take a sip of soda again. Let’s be realistic. However, if you can cut back, that will help. If you do indulge, here are a few tips (#3 is a bit surprising) that can help lessen the damage.
- Rinse your mouth with water after drinking soda.
- Drink with a straw to minimize contact with the teeth.
- DON’T brush your teeth immediately after, as this brushes away enamel that has been softened by the acid. Wait 30 minutes.
- Avoid sipping throughout the day, as every sip means 20 minutes that your teeth are dissolving.
The Center for Disease Control is reporting a rapid increase in cavities, especially in young children. For the first time in 40 years, dentists are reporting a higher number of cavities in preschoolers. This was relatively unheard of 40 years ago and the CDC attributes it to sugary drinks.
Although we love to see you in our dental offices, see if you can cut down on sugar sodas. Too often we just accept the fact that we will one day have dentures, but it doesn’t have to be that way. It’s true: Your teeth are meant to last a lifetime and you can help them live up to that promise.