Soda consumption has become a daily habit for more and more people. It is no longer considered a treat for a special occasion and is now part of a daily routine for many.
In fact, drinking soda daily has become the norm especially for children and young adults. This article will cover the latest update of why soda is bad for your teeth and what you need to know to protect them.
What Does Soda Do to Your Teeth?
The sugar in soda mixes with the bacteria in your mouth to create acid. These acids attack your teeth. People who have poor oral hygiene are at a much higher risk of damage since they have more bacteria to begin with. The two main ways soda damages your teeth is by erosion and cavities. Learn more about acid erosion of teeth here from Wikipedia.
Even sugar free soda contains acid of its own and should be avoided as much as regular soda. While diet soda may not have sugar, it has a very high content of citric and phosphoric acid. If these drinks are consumed often, they will have a very damaging effect your enamel.
Soda is bad for your teeth because the acid weakens the enamel and makes it more prone to decay. Every sip of soda lowers the pH in the mouth which prolongs the acid attack and erodes the enamel.
Each acid attack can lasts around 20 minutes. With ongoing acid attacks, the enamel becomes weaker and weaker. With the weakened enamel, the bacteria in the mouth are more likely to cause cavities.
Over time, the enamel is permanently damaged from the erosion. Once this enamel is gone, it’s gone. There is no way of getting it back!
How Can You Reduce the Acid Challenge?
By being aware of how soda is bad for your teeth, you can take steps to lessen the damage it can cause.
Never sip on soda all day. Everytime you take a sip of soda, the 20-minute acid attack starts all over again. The best way to enjoy your soda is to drink it all at once versus sipping on it.
Swishing with water after drinking soda will reduce the sugar content and dilute the acids. You should try to switch out soda for water as it has no sugar or acid and will not harm your teeth.
Using a straw when drinking soda will keep the sugar and acid away from your teeth.
Avoid drinking soda before bed. If soda is consumed before bed it will coat the teeth and tissues and allow the acid to cause damage all night long.
The absolute worst thing you can do is to consume soda throughout the night. Believe it or not, some people actually have soda on their nightstands. At night, the bacteria in the mouth multiply rapidly. The sugar in soda mixes with the bacteria in the mouth to create acids of their own in addition to the acid already in the soda.
It is best to wait at least 3o minutes after consuming soda to brush. If you brush before this time, you are more likely to cause further damage to your enamel. This is caused by brushing away the softened enamel created by the acid consumption.
More Damaging Than Ever! Updated Information
Today’s teenagers drink more soda than ever before. They consume three times as much soda than 20 years ago.
If you are like most of the American population, about half of you will have consumed a soda, sports or energy drink today.
The size of a soda bottle is getting bigger and bigger. Today’s bottle is 20 ounces compared to the standard 12 ounce bottle of years ago.
These larger sizes mean more and more sugar in each serving. It is not uncommon for a 20 ounce bottle to contain anywhere from 10 to 15 teaspoons of sugar! This table shows the comparison of water and battery acid to the sugar and pH acid content of a 12 ounce can of soda.
- (Drink/acid/sugar content)
- Water/ 7.00 neutral/ 0.0 tsp
- Sprite/ 3.42/ 9.0 tsp
- Diet Coke/ 3.41/ 0.0 tsp
- Mt. Dew/ 3.22/ 11.0 tsp
- Diet Pepsi/ 3.05/ 0.0 tsp
- Dr. Pepper/ 2.92/ 9.5 tsp
- Squirt/ 2.85/ 9.5 tsp
- Coke/ 2.53/ 9.3 tsp
- Pepsi/ 2.49/ 9.8 tsp
- Battery Acid-/1.00/ 0.0 tsp
What Does This Damage Look Like?
As the enamel thins and erodes, the underlying tooth surface starts to show through. This underlying tooth structure is called dentin and it is a yellow brownish color. Teeth appear darker when the translucent enamel allows the darker dentin to shine through more easily.
The chewing surface can become worn, pitted and uneven. The teeth appear to pull away from the margins of existing fillings as the acid erosion continues.
Cavities cause unsightly damage as the holes created by the decay rot away tooth structure.
Please Rethink Your Drink!
Why not choose a beverage low in sugar and acid? Now that you know why soda is bad for your teeth, you can avoid all the negative effects of soda by switching out your drink. Choose milk or water if at all possible. Even chocolate milk has much less sugar and no acid.
Be careful when consuming sports drinks. Many sports drinks such as Gatorade can have an acid pH content as high as 2.95 per 12 ounce serving. This is much higher than most sodas. Gatorade also has an average of 3-4 tsp of sugar per serving.
Energy drinks such as Monster have an average pH of 2.7. This is even closer to the dreaded pH of 1 in battery acid.
Remember that the enamel erosion caused by these drinks is irreversible so choose wisely and rethink your drink! The American Dental Association recommends limiting between meal sipping and snacking on sugary beverages and foods.
The ADA further recommends practicing good dental health hygiene by brushing twice a day for two minutes with an ADA accepted fluoridated toothpaste, flossing or cleaning between teeth daily, eating a healthy diet and visiting your dentist regularly.
I hope you have enjoyed this article and thank you for reading. Please feel free to comment below and I will gladly answer any questions or comments you may have.