Drinking soda as well as soft drinks has become a part of our lifestyle. People all over the world enjoy drinking them so much so that they choose to drink it over water. Guzzling down soda becomes more popular during summer season as the mercury rises.
Soda and other sugary drinks have many side effects on our body including weight gain, risk of diabetes and increased blood pressure just to name a few. The list goes on and on. Even the ‘diet’ kind, which are marketed as ‘calorie and sugar free’ pose some health problems. But did you know that drinking soda and sugary drinks has many harmful effects on your teeth as well? These drinks include soft drinks, sparkling and fizzy beverages along with sparkling water and wines. So before you gulp down soda the next time, think about these side effects as you might be unknowingly harming your teeth.
Effects of soda on your teeth
Most people are aware that sweet snacks and junk food like candy, cookies and other confectionaries packed with sugar are the usual suspects for causing cavities. But soda and sugary drinks can do your teeth a lot of damage too. The harmful effects of soda and soft drinks on your teeth are due to the sugar and acids present in them.
Drinking soda and other sugary drinks is one of the top reasons for tooth decay. The bacteria in your mouth start to produce acid in as less as 20 seconds after getting exposed to sugar. The damage starts right away lasting for about 20 minutes post consumption. This is the time it takes your saliva to neutralize acid. The acids soften the hard outer covering of your teeth called enamel, gradually eating it up and causing cavities. A 12 ounce (about 350 ml) of these drinks have anywhere from 13 to 7 tsp of sugar.
Soda is a double whammy when it comes to cavities. The acid in the soda weakens the enamel plus the sugar in it is the main food of the harmful bacteria in your mouth, producing more of the destructive acid. So the longer they come in contact with your teeth, the worse the effect.
The soda you drink has different acids like carbonic, citric and phosphoric acid. These acids attack the calcium in your teeth and wear down tooth enamel; the outer extremely hard covering of teeth which protects the underlying softer dentin and pulp that contains the nerves and blood supply to the tooth.
This weak enamel makes it easier for the acids produced by the bacteria to attack it. So besides tooth decay, you start to experience sensitivity and pain as the nerve endings get exposed.
What about diet soda? Although diet soda does not contain the harmful amount of sugar as in regular soda, but the acid content is very high. Its pH level can be as low as 3, where water is at pH of 7. So the answer is they are still harmful as your teeth are not spared from erosion.
Other non-aerated drinks like iced tea, lemonade, orange juice, sports drinks are not innocent either. The amount of sugar and its acidity vary from one brand to another. Although non-carbonated, they contain high amount of citric acid, making them very acidic and harmful to teeth. All of us have good and bad bacteria in our mouth. The minute we drink sugar, bacteria get energy from this sugar and produce acid. Unfortunately there are some drinks which are marketed as healthy and natural but still have lots of sugar in them. Some of the packaged fruit juices have sugar equivalent to a soda. So dental decay and teeth erosion are also caused by these drinks.
Protect your teeth from damage from soda and sugary drinks
It is almost impossible to completely cut out soda and sugary drinks from our diet, but here are a few things you can keep in mind to reduce the potential damage.
- Drink fast and don’t sip throughout the day. Keep in mind that the more often your teeth get exposed to the acid and sugar in drinks, the greater the risk. So if you have a habit of taking your time and slowly sipping drinks, stop right away. It’s best to drink at a time.
- Use a straw, which avoids exposing these drinks to your teeth. Straw will take the drinks straight to the back of your mouth, avoiding contact with your teeth.
- Rinse your mouth with water after you finish drinking to get rid of any leftovers of the drink in your mouth.
- Don’t brush immediately, wait for 30 minutes. This time will be enough to bring the pH of your mouth back to normal. Your teeth are already weak due to the acid attack, scrubbing them with toothbrush within 30 minutes of consuming sugary drinks will harm them further.
- Having soft drinks at night before going to bed is a complete no-no. The sugar and acid in it will harm your teeth all through the night.
- Use healthy substitutes to soda and sugary drinks which are less in sugar and high on nutrients like plain milk, diluted juice, unsweetened teas, and milk substitutes such as almond, soy and rice milk.
Visit our dentists at Signature Smiles regularly for dental checkup and professional dental cleaning. Such preventive care is a great way for your dentist to spot any problems before they get worse. Talk to our dentists to find out how you can enjoy soda and at the same time lessen its harmful dental effects. Learn proper tooth brushing and flossing to keep your teeth and gums healthy. We offer the best class dental service for all your dental problems including general dentistry, dental implants, smile makeover, invisalign, instant teeth whitening, and cosmetic dentistry. So make an appointment today and get the best dental treatment in Mumbai, India.