What Does Carbonation Do To Your Teeth?

Posted: May 18, 2018 By: Comment: 0

Three girls outside with sunglasses on and drinking various sodas

Did you know that about half of all Americans drink soda, with most of those drinking almost 3 glasses of soda per day? If you are a soda drinker, think twice before drinking another glass. The carbonation and sugar content in soda is most likely wrecking your teeth, even if you don’t notice any changes on a day-to-day basis. Carbonation contains carbonic acid, which erodes away your tooth enamel. This causes cracks and fissures in your teeth, where plaque and other gunk can get inside your teeth and decay them. Soda also causes tooth decay and tooth staining, among other problems. Find out what carbonation is and what happens to your teeth over time!

 

How Popular Are Sodas?

Some studies report that Americans on average drink about 50 gallons of soda or carbonation-containing drinks each year. This happens because many people are reaching for carbonated beverages instead of water or healthier drink options. Most people drink about a ½ gallon of liquid each day, but for many Americans, that ½ gallon is coming from sugary and carbonated drinks.

  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that high consumption of sugary drinks significantly increases your risk for diabetes, obesity, weight gain, kidney diseases, liver disease, heart disease and tooth decay.
  • 63% of children and 49% of adults drink sodas or sugar-filled drinks each day.
  • So many Americans drink carbonation in the form of soda that 33 states have a soda tax.
  • 9 out of 10 American children drink sodas with carbonation every single day.
  • Energy drinks make up a little more than 10% of the carbonation consumption.
  • People spend over $75 billion dollars a year on soda.
  • 1 can of Coke has 39 grams of sugar in it. That can is considered the “small” size.
  • Many people skip the soda and consume sparkling water instead. This can cut out the sugar, but will still destroy your teeth because of the acid.

 

Colorful sodas with carbonation

What Is Carbonation?

Most people have had carbonation at some point in their lives. You probably identify carbonation as the bubbles in soda. If so, you would be correct! Carbonation is what gives sodas, sparkling water and other drinks their strong bite. Carbonation is actually a chemical reaction that happens because of carbonic dioxide. Carbon dioxide gas mixes with water when sodas and other drinks are made and the gas is sealed off. When a person opens a drink, pressure from the gas will release, creating bubbles of carbon dioxide gas.

 

The mixture of the gas and water not only creates bubbles, but it creates an acidic substance called carbonic acid. When it comes to your teeth, carbonic acid is lethal, as it erodes your tooth enamel and leads to decay. You don’t ever want to brush your teeth right after drinking soda, as it could take a layer of your tooth enamel off because of the acid. You always want to drink some water and wait between 25 and 30 minutes before brushing and flossing. The carbonic acid can hurt your teeth, and the sugar content of carbonated drinks will lead to tooth decay. Other effects this chemical substance has on your health includes:

  • Heartburn
  • Burping, sometimes long after you’ve had the drink
  • Nutrient deficiencies from high sugar and high soda consumption
  • Increased risk of weight gain and chronic health problems
  • Weaker bones, especially in the hips if you are an avid soda-drinker
  • Tooth decay and oral health problems from the carbonic acid

 

What Does Carbonation Do To Your Teeth?

You can go your entire life drinking carbonation and never have problems with your teeth. However, others can drink sodas here and there and can experience weakening enamel or tooth decay. It all depends on your drinking habits. There are several factors you have to consider when it comes to the effects of carbonation on your teeth:

  • The majority of carbonated drinks are very high in sugar. Some of these drinks can have upwards of 60 grams of sugar (which is about 10 times the recommended amount). Sugar mixes with bacteria in your mouth to form plaque, which erodes and decays your tooth enamel. Sugar is directly correlated with cavities. The more you eat or drink, the higher your risk for tooth decay.
  • Any kind of acid you ingest will hurt your teeth. Carbonic acid in drinks with carbonation is proven to hurt your teeth. That includes sodas, juices, and even sparkling water. When you combine carbon dioxide gas with water, it will always produce an acidic chemical that comes in contact with your teeth.

If you drink soda several times a day (or even just one a day), you should not be surprised if your enamel is weak, thinning, or if you get cavities often.

 

Close-up view of cola with lots of carbonation

How You Can Protect Your Oral Health

We are not telling you to completely cut sodas or any other form of carbonation out of your life. However, we do recommend that you consider significantly cutting down your soda or carbonation intake so you keep a healthy mouth. Drink water as often as you can instead of other beverages. Make sure you are brushing your teeth at least twice a day per the American Dental Association recommendation. If you drink soda all day long, brush your teeth more often, waiting those 20-30 minutes after drinking to brush.

 

To reduce your risk for tooth decay, use fluoride products on your teeth and drink through a straw. Also, try choosing sodas or products with carbonation that are at least sugar-free, so you don’t have both tooth decay and tooth erosion working against you. Patients who cut down on carbonation—especially sodas—will notice they have less cavities and fewer health problems. If you drink sugary or acidic drinks often, come in for a comprehensive dental exam. Call Dr. Ania’s office at (303) 872-9940 and let us help you improve your oral health today!

 

AUTHOR

Dr. Ania Mohelicki

All stories by: Dr. Ania Mohelicki