According to a 2018 study, bottled water made up 25 percent of all beverages consumed in the United States, making it the most commonly consumed beverage. From a dental health perspective, this is pretty good news, though filtered tap provides necessary fluoride, any still water is better than no water. More concerning is that carbonated soft drinks came in second at 22 percent.
It’s no secret that sodas are bad for your teeth, but we want to go into the specifics as to what they are doing to your dental health. That’s why our Cary dentist is sharing the four ways soft drinks harm your teeth.
Sugar Is the Main Offender in Soft Drinks
The main reason soft drinks are bad for your teeth is the sugar. Drinking a Coke bathes your teeth in sugar, and that sugar feeds bacteria in your mouth, forming acid that attacks your teeth and eats through your enamel. When the hard, protective layer of tooth enamel erodes away, you’re more likely to experience cavities, decay, and eventually tooth loss.
High Acidity in Soda Damages Your Teeth
So, you may be thinking, “Well, I could just switch to sugar-free soda, that will take care of the problem.” That takes care of a portion of the problem, but not all of it. Diet sodas don’t have the sugar, but they still erode enamel because the acidity dissolves your tooth enamel. It doesn’t offer the one-two punch of sugar and acidity that a regular Coke has, but that doesn’t mean it’s a better option.
This acidity can also weaken your teeth in other ways. As the body attempts to neutralize the added acidity in your stomach, calcium and other minerals with higher pH values may be leached to balance it out. This means calcium and phosphorous that would normally support healthy teeth gets redirected to help neutralize excess acid in your stomach.
Substituting Soda for Water
When you drink a soda, you’re getting sugar and acidity, but you also need to think about what you’re not getting. If you reach for a soda when you’re thirsty, you’re not drinking water most likely. Drinking tap water provides you with enamel strengthening fluoride, and even if you’re drinking bottled water, you’re rinsing debris and bacteria and improving saliva production, both of which are necessary for healthy teeth.
Additionally, if the soda you drink is caffeinated, it can have a diuretic effect which leads to dehydration. Frequent or chronic dehydration can lead to halitosis, chronic dry mouth, and an increased risk of tooth decay and gum disease.
Soda Leads to Health Problems that Impact Dental Health
Drinking soda is attributed to obesity, type II diabetes and other health problems which can lead to chronic inflammation in the body. What does this mean for your teeth? Chronic inflammation can affect your gums, making them more prone to bleeding and swelling. In turn, this can increase the likelihood of tooth loss, abscess, and other severe complications in your dental health.
Reduce Damage from Sodas and Soft Drinks
While water is best with milk a close second, we understand that you may not want to completely give up sodas and soft drinks. Here are some tips for how you can reduce the damage they cause:
- Don’t sip on sodas; they continue to attack your teeth for as long as you’re drinking them, so instead of sipping for an hour on one soda, drink a smaller amount in a shorter time.
- Rinse your mouth with water after drinking soda;
- Use a straw to help the soda bypass your teeth and do less damage;
- Don’t overdo; One 12 ounce soda is the maximum you should drink;
- Brush your teeth twice a day and floss daily;
Schedule an Appointment with Our Dentist in Cary Today
We want to help you keep your teeth and gums healthy, so whether you’re a soda drinker or not, it may be time for a checkup. To schedule an appointment, give our dentist office in Cary a call at (919) 467-2203 or reach out to our Holly Springs dentist office at (919) 600-6262 and you can also use a contact form to request an appointment.