What does soda do to your teeth?

Everyone loves a sugary, ice cold glass of soda on a hot day. It’s refreshing, it’s sweet and in all honesty, it is a guilty pleasure.

For the last few years, physicians have warned about the effects of sugary cold drinks on the body, with it being blamed for anything from diabetes to obesity. But most recently, dentists have also spoken out against the delicious delicacies, and just how bad they affect the teeth.

WDA reports that there is a strong link between indulging in carbonated beverages and tooth decay. Unfortunately, nowadays milk intakes have decreased, while soda pop and 100 percent juice intakes (which also contain loads of sugar) have increased.

Excess consumption has also been linked to health complications including diabetes, obesity and osteoporosis. As people consume these in excess on a daily basis, the need for affordable medical aid is imperative.

The report continues that measures can be taken to prevent and reduce tooth decay.

What is in Soda?

Batchelor-Dentistry explains; sodas contain carbonated water, a sweetener, natural or artificial flavoring, and sometimes artificial coloring.

“From a dental perspective, the sweetener could be sugar (as in traditional Coca-Cola), high-fructose corn syrup, or another sugar substitute (usually aspartame), and the carbonated water is what gives soda its refreshing, bubbly taste”.

This is what destroys the teeth’s enamel.

Dissolved carbonic acid is what makes the drink carbonated, but many sodas contain other acids as well, which means soda is an extremely acidic drink.

How do we stop the decay?

WDA suggests;

Consuming two or more servings of dairy foods

Limiting the intake of 100 percent juice to four to six ounces

Restricting other sugared beverages to occasional use is very important and has been emphasized by dentistry in South Africa. Dentists urge patients to rinse their mouths after consuming anything sugary, in order to prevent painful cavities.

This doesn’t mean a person should never drink soda. In fact, drinking it in moderation may represent no harm at all.  However, substituting sugary, acidic carbonated beverages for water or intake of caloric food could be problematic in the long run.

According to Smile Angels, fortunately, there are other ways to lessen harm to your teeth.

Consume soft drinks in moderation and ensure you don’t take more than one soft drink in a day. Secondly, drink your soda quickly.

The longer you spend time taking your soda, the more time the soda will have to destroy your dental health.

Always use a straw to keep the damaging acids from getting into contact with your teeth. Lastly, after drinking your soda, flush your mouth with clean water to wash away the acids and sugars remaining in your mouth.

A lesser known fact is that sugar free drinks are also bad for your teeth and gums.

Even though diet drinks have less sugar, are sugar free or have sugar replacements, it doesn’t mean that they don’t still contain harmful acids that wreak havoc in your mouth.

A Beverley Hills Dentist, Bruce Vafa, says “After drinking your soda, ensure that you wait for some time before you brush your teeth. Brushing immediately will cause friction against your acid-attacked and vulnerable teeth which can do more”.

Some dentists even speak of the dangers of plain old sparkling water.

The Journal of the Canadian Dental Association (JCDA) published this issue in 2003, which looks at the idea of a ‘critical pH’, or the pH below which your teeth are in danger of erosion. As they put it, ‘the critical pH does not have a fixed value but rather is inversely proportional to the calcium and phosphate concentrations in the solution’.

McGill.ca explains that essentially, dental enamel is made mostly of hydroxyapatite, which dissolves in water to form calcium, phosphate and hydroxyl (OH-) ions.

So when we drink liquids without calcium or phosphate ions in them, or with decreased hydroxyl ion amounts (such as acidic solutions) some amount of the minerals from our teeth dissolve into the liquid (the universe likes to balance things as much as it can). This occurs every single time you drink water, but only in tiny amounts (about 30 mg in 1 L of water), since the pH of water is neutral. When we drink acidic drinks, like sodas, fruit juices, or (mildly) acidic bubbly waters, the minerals in our teeth dissolve in a process called demineralization.

Take care of your pearly whites. Contact an Affinity Dental consultant today for the best dental care in South Africa.


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