Most of us drink soda without giving it a second thought. We’re addicted to the carbonated deliciousness. But these popular soft drinks can cause serious teeth problems if consumed daily.
There is a strong link between soda consumption and tooth decay. Grabbing a soda has become a daily habit for many children, teens and young adults, unfortunately. These addictive beverages are one of the
most significant sources of tooth decay. Approximately one in five kids consumes a MINIMUM of four servings of soda a day, according to an article by Colgate. Even more heartbreaking is some teenagers drink as many as 12 soft drinks a day!
But they seem harmless, you say? Soft drinks contain phosphate and citric acid that weakens the tooth
enamel. And when your enamel is vulnerable, it makes your teeth susceptible to decay. Softer enamel combined with improper brushing, teeth grinding or other poor habits can lead to tooth loss.
When you drink soda the sugar in the drink combines with bacteria in your mouth to form acid and attacks your pearly whites. These acids not only remove the calcium from your enamel, they also have the ability to lower the pH in your mouth. And don’t think diet sodas are a safe alternative! Diet sodas also weaken tooth enamel, even with their low sugar content.
Teeth will begin to change once the enamel has been damaged. They will no longer appear white and vivid, like normal; they may seem translucent around the edges, and more yellow. Eventually your teeth could begin to twinge, tingle or ache from hot and cold beverages, or even when you’re brushing and flossing. If left untreated, your teeth could begin to crack and erode from the acids; leading to tooth loss.
Luckily, there are steps you can take to reduce and prevent the damage you may have already caused to your teeth. Substitute different drinks. Stock your refrigerator with drinks that contain less sugar. We recommend water as it keeps you hydrated and doesn’t contain any sugar. If you’re having a difficult time weaning your children off of soda, encourage them to drink soda in moderation (no more than one 12
ounce can a day). Drink through a straw to keep the sugar always from your teeth. This allows you or your children to enjoy those carbonated drinks. Another tip: rinse your mouth out with water after drinking to dilute the acid and sugar, or drink sips of water between sips of soda.
You should never sip a soda for extended periods of time. This increases the likelihood of damage from the sugar and acid. And many people don’t know this, but you should always wait at least 30 minutes to an hour before brushing your teeth after consuming soda. Brushing your teeth immediately after drinking a soda can damage your teeth.
By reducing your daily consumption, practicing good oral hygiene, and visiting your orthodontist and dentist regularly, you can combat the harmful effects and enjoy a healthy, white smile.