How Does Soda Damage Teeth?
If you drink soda, you are probably aware that this isn’t exactly a healthy habit. The empty calories can add inches to your waistline, and the high sugar and caffeine content can increase your blood sugar levels and cause unhealthy energy spikes and crashes. Of course, soda also harms your teeth, but not just because of the high sugar content. If you’ve been wondering—how does soda damage teeth?—you’ll find the answer here, as well as tips to limit the damage.
Does Soda Damage Teeth?
The sugar found in regular soda interacts with the bacteria in your mouth to form acid. Diet soft drinks don’t contain sugar, but they still aren’t good for your teeth because they are highly acidic. With every sip you take, a damaging reaction begins that lasts for about 20 minutes. This means, if you drink soda on and off throughout the day, your teeth are under constant attack.
Tooth erosion is the first effect. This occurs when the sugar and acid in soft drinks come in contact with your enamel, the outermost protective layer of your teeth. The enamel softens and weakens in response to this onslaught.
After this, soda attacks the next tooth layer, known as dentin. Damaged dentin results in tooth decay. People who drink soda regularly are more prone to cavities, especially if they also have poor oral hygiene.
How to Limit the Damage from Drinking Soda
The obvious solution is to stop drinking soda altogether. But if you don’t want to kick the habit, there are some tips you can follow to limit the damage to your teeth:
Drink in moderation. In other words, don’t have more than one soft drink per day. Your teeth—not to mention your blood sugar and waistline—will thank you.
Drink through a straw to help keep the damaging sugars and acids away from your teeth. Also, be sure to swallow quickly so the soda doesn’t linger in your mouth.
Finish your drink quickly. The longer you sip on a soda, the more time it has to erode your teeth and cause cavities. Aim to finish the beverage within 10 to 15 minutes; just don’t use this as an excuse to drink more!
Rinse out your mouth afterward. Flushing your mouth with water helps to wash away lingering sugars and acids to stop them from attacking your teeth.
Wait to brush. It may seem counterintuitive, but brushing immediately after finishing a soft drink isn’t a good idea. Remember, soda softens your enamel, so if you brush while your teeth are in this weakened state, you could do more harm than good. Wait until the pH in your mouth balances out, which takes about 30 to 60 minutes.
Don’t drink soda right before bed. Not only can the sugar keep you up all night, but it can also incessantly attack your teeth while you sleep.
Drink soda alternatives. If you love carbonated drinks, you can choose similar beverages to satisfy your cravings while exposing your teeth to fewer harmful acids. Healthier options include flavored seltzer water, sparkling water with fresh fruit, or mineral water with a splash of juice.
Practice good oral hygiene. This includes brushing your teeth at least twice a day (though not immediately after drinking soda), using fluoride toothpaste, flossing once a day, and rinsing with therapeutic mouthwash. Follow any other instructions your dentist gives you to improve your oral health.
Drink plenty of (fluoridated) water. As mentioned, water helps rinse away sugars and acids in your mouth. If you drink fluoridated tap water, you also benefit from the remineralizing effects of fluoride. This promotes harder enamel to better protect the underlying dentin and help prevent cavities.
Visit the dentist regularly. Checkups and dental cleanings every six months help you catch and correct problems early before they lead to more serious complications. You can expect a professional cleaning to restore the natural beauty of your smile, along with tips to help prevent cavities in the future.
Schedule Your Next Teeth Cleaning With Our Boulder Dentist
Now you know that the answer to the question, does soda damage teeth, is a resounding YES. Whether you notice signs of tooth decay, or you hope to proactively prevent cavities before they start, you should make routine dental visits a priority. Our Boulder dentist, Dr. Ania, can take care of your every need. We offer comprehensive dental care, both preventative and restorative, to keep your smile healthy and bright.
To schedule your next appointment, please call Dr. Ania at (303) 872-9940. We pride ourselves in providing a soothing, comfortable, inviting setting where we complete the dental work you need.