How Soda Affects Your Teeth
Around half of Americans drink a minimum of one sugary drink each day, and soda is often the drink of choice. It’s no secret that consuming high-sugar sodas is linked with weight gain, Type 2 diabetes and obesity. However, you may not be aware that drinking sodas can damage your teeth, taking a big toll on your oral health. Before opening that next can of soda, take a closer look at how sodas can affect your teeth.
What Can Drinking Too Much Soda Do To Your Teeth
The sugars found in regular sodas can interact with the bacteria already present in your mouth, forming an acid that can attack the teeth. All sodas (even sugar-free ones) contain acids of their own as well, which can also attack your teeth. When you take a drink of soda, you start a reaction that can last 15-20 minutes. What’s more, if you continually sip, your teeth are constantly being attacked by these acids.
Drinking soda has two primary dental effects: cavities and tooth erosion. When the acids contact tooth enamel, they can damage enamel and even affect the dentin layer of your teeth. Once the tooth enamel is damaged, you have a higher risk of developing cavities. Sodas are even more dangerous for kids and teens, since their tooth enamel hasn’t fully developed yet, increasing their risk of tooth decay.
Best Ways to Indulge in Soda
The best way to prevent oral health problems caused by soda is to stop drinking it. However, if you want to indulge from time to time, here are a few tips to help minimize tooth damage:
- Avoid drinking more than one can of soda each day.
- Enjoy your soda with a straw. This helps keep sugar from contacting your teeth as much.
- Brush your teeth well about an hour after drinking soda to help eliminate the sugars and acids.
- If you’re unable to brush your teeth right away, swish water in your mouth to help dilute the sugars and acids.
- Avoid sipping on sodas for extended periods or drinking them right before going to bed.
Preventing and Reversing Tooth Decay Caused by Soda
What can you do to prevent and reverse tooth decay caused by drinking soda? Here are a few tips that can help:
- Use fluoride. Fluoride not only can help prevent tooth decay, it can often reverse tooth decay. It works by reducing bacteria’s ability to make acids, replacing lost minerals, and preventing mineral loss in your tooth enamel. Drinking fluoridated water and using a fluoride toothpaste can help. Your dentist can also apply a fluoride varnish or gel to teeth to combat tooth decay.
- Keep up with good oral hygiene practices. Ensure you’re brushing after meals and before going to bed so sugars aren’t left on teeth. Flossing daily is also important.
- Schedule regular dental visits. You’ll need regular dental cleanings and routine exams. This way any problems, such as cavities, are found before they become worse.