Soda seems like a generally harmless indulgence, but it can wreak havoc on your dental health. Here’s how it works, and how you can avoid it.
How does soda damage your teeth?
The high sugar content of soda, when mixed with your mouth’s bacteria, creates a damaging acid buildup on your teeth and gums. This acid, when not kept in check, can lead to visible tooth decay and painful cavities.
For example, each time you take a sip of soda, you introduce harmful sugars into your mouth, causing acid to attack your teeth and gums. These “acid attacks” last about 20 minutes, so if you’ve been sipping on soda all day long, your teeth have been under attack the entire time.
Two negative effects of soda – tooth erosion and cavities
Though sports drinks and fruit juices damage your enamel, soda goes one step further, actually weakening the surface hardness of your enamel. Staining, chipping, and cavities are far more likely to occur once tooth enamel has been compromised.
In addition to weakening the tooth’s surface, soda can also compromise the tooth’s next layer: dentin. It can also affect any fillings you’ve previously received. In short, soda damages your teeth layer by layer, creating the perfect environment for painful cavities.
While the ADA recommends you avoid soda altogether, you could start by simply lowering your soda intake, and it would work wonders for your dental health. Here are a few ideas to help you start curbing your soda consumption.
Enjoy your soda in moderation
You may not have to totally cut soda out of your diet, but try limiting yourself to one a day.
Tip: If you use a straw, you are less likely to expose your teeth to harmful sugars and enamel-eating acid.
Rinse it away
Simply rinsing your mouth with water after you’ve consumed soda can effectively wash some harmful sugars and acids off of your teeth.
Brush & floss
A regular routine of brushing 2 minutes both morning and night (and flossing once daily) can do wonders for your teeth! This is one of the best ways to prevent acid erosion and cavities.
Tip: Don’t brush immediately after drinking soda. Contrary to what you might think, this can be more harmful than good. The friction of brushing will compromise your recently weakened enamel. Instead of brushing right away, wait 30 minutes to an hour.
Don’t skip your dental cleanings
A dental professional will be able to identify problems before they become health risks, saving you years of dental trouble and money along the way.