February 2019 Dental NewsletterThe Dangers of Soda
Over the last few years, the consumption of soda by kids, teens, and young adults has increased dramatically. These days it seems like everybody prefers to drink things that are sugary and acidic. What is important to realize is that these drinks offer no benefits to oral health (or health in general). According to reports the average person drinks around 16 ounces of soda a day which equates to 53 gallons of soda a year. Consuming 53 gallons of liquids filled with acids and sugar will repeatedly expose teeth to sugar, fueling decay.
Harmfulness of Soda on your Teeth
Soda harms teeth by directly exposing them to acid and by feeding acid-producing bacteria. Erosion occurs when acid breaks down tooth enamel, leaving the sensitive dentin layer with less protection. This makes teeth more sensitive to hot and cold, resulting in frequent toothaches. The sugars in soda also allow bacteria to multiply and produce acid as their waste product. This acid gets trapped in plaque, causing it to wear away at enamel over an extended period.
How to limit the damage from Soda
There are ways you can help to limit the damage caused by soda and better protect your teeth. Moderation is important so drinking no more than 12 Oz of soda a day and increasing your water intake will limit the amount of acid that is on your teeth. Drinking soda with a straw will help to prevent soda from being in direct contact with your enamel. The best way to get the acid and sugar off is to brush your teeth 25-30 minutes after drinking. If brushing is not an option, rinsing your mouth with water will help to dilute the acid and sugar.
Alternatives to Soda
Healthy alternatives to soda are milk and water. Water helps to rinse away bacteria, acid, and sugar that may still be on your teeth. It has zero calories and helps to restore pH balance in your mouth and produce more saliva. Drinking milk also offers plenty of health benefits including calcium which strengthens your bones and teeth. The protein found in milk called casein helps to shield enamel and resist cavities and erosion. Just remember that milk also contains some sugars that will need to be brushed away.
Good oral hygiene starts with being cautious of the things you eat and drink. Consuming soda in moderation and keeping your teeth clean will help to prevent damage to your teeth.