Sodas and other carbonated beverages are harmful to your teeth. How exactly are they harmful?
Soft drinks contain a high amount of sugars. These sugars are digested by bacteria in your mouth to form acid; sugar-free or diet sodas also contain acids. The acids then dissolve calcium in the hydroxyapatitecrystals present in tooth enamel resulting in pit formation and eventual tooth decay.
Each acid attack lasts for about 20 minutes and is renewed with each new sip of soda you take.
What are some things you can do to minimize the harmful effects of sodas on your teeth?
1. Brush twice a day every day!
Use a good quality fluoride toothpaste to keep your teeth at optimal strength to fight tooth decay.
2. Wait 30–60 mins before brushing after drinking soda
This might surprise many of you but it’s actually not recommended that you brush immediately after a drink or a meal. Soft drinks alter the pH of your mouth, making the teeth more vulnerable to acid attack and mechanical wear. Brushing immediately afterward will cause further harm to the weakened teeth. It is recommended that you wait a while before brushing so that the saliva has time to re-neutralize the mouth pH.
3. Rinse with water afterward
Water, milk, and dairy products have a neutral pH. Rinsing your mouth with water, drinking some milk, or eating some cheese after an acidic beverage or meal helps dilute the acidic pH of your mouth.
4. Don’t drink sodas immediately before bed
The bacteria and acid will continue attacking your teeth, throughout the night causing excessive harm.
Some people have a habit of keeping soda at their nightstand and sipping throughout the night. Unsurprisingly, that is also a big ‘No’.
Water should be your only source of hydration through the night.
Because not only are acidic beverages bad for your teeth, most also contain caffeine which can actually speed up dehydration.
5. Reduce the number of sodas you drink per day
Exercise moderation. The less you drink, the less your oral environment is exposed to the harmful effects of the drink. Try to take your daily hit of soda along with your main meals to reduce exposure.
6. Don’t drink at a leisurely pace
As mentioned above, each acid attack lasts for 20 minutes and is renewed with each new sip. Therefore it’s best to drink quickly to reduce the time the bacteria and acid have to wreak havoc in your mouth.
7. Use a straw
This helps reduce the amount of direct contact between the sugars/acids and your teeth.
8. Drink water instead!
Especially from your tap. Not only is water great for your overall health, but most community water supplies contain fluoride.
Fluoride strengthens enamel crystals and provides the best protection against tooth decay.
9. Try less harmful substitutes
If you still find yourself reaching for that can, consider switching to less harmful alternatives. Diluted juices, unsweetened tea, and milk all contain little to no sugar. Even among soft drinks Sprite, Diet Coke, and Diet Dr. Pepper are some of the least acidic options you can opt for.
10. Schedule regular visits to your dentist!
We’re here to help and we’re not that scary!
Routine cleanings are recommended every 6 months. During your visits, we also check for any preliminary signs of decay and can treat those accordingly.
Always remember: “Prevention is better (and much cheaper) than cure!”