Drinking soda is not the worst thing, but if you guzzle down “pop/soda/coke” like it’s oxygen, your teeth could be in big danger.
Here are four ways a soda drinking habit is wrecking your oral health.
Soda contains acids, abrasive carbonation, and sugars which really do a number on tooth enamel. These mix with cavity-causing bacteria in the mouth and skyrocket the risk for developing tooth decay.
The occasional fizzy drink with a meal won’t kill your smile. But steadily sipping on carbonated drinks for long periods throughout the day only increases the amount of harmful exposure to your teeth, leading to a significant increase in cavities and the need for restorative dental treatment including fillings and crowns.
This effect is the least dangerous and so it’s often overlooked. The acidic nature of soda erodes the enamel and makes it more porous – basically, a stain sponge. Even lighter colored sodas still contain colorants that can discolor teeth.
Stain becomes a big deal when you realize it’s hiding the development of cavities.
Having touched on this in the past two points, you probably get the idea. Acid and sugar in soda gradually dissolves the protective outer layer of your teeth. This makes them more prone to cavities and can also make them more sensitive.
Because your immune system is closely connected to gum health, uncontrolled blood sugar can weaken your gums. High sugar level in the bloodstream equals more sugar in your saliva. This can fuel an already-raging gum infection.
Ready to kick this habit for good? Visit your dentist to find out how to cut back on soda and protect your teeth from the damaging effects.
Posted on behalf of:
Dunwoody Family & Cosmetic Dentistry
1816 Independence Square, Suite B
Dunwoody, GA 30338
A healthy mouth as a pH at or just below 7.0, and just to give you an idea, fresh water also has a pH of 7.0. Destruction and softening of the tooth enamel occurs when pH levels drop below a range of 5.2-5.5 pH. At this point, acidic levels damage the natural enamel.
Battery acid has a pH of 1.0. No soda has a pH this low, but the lowest known pH of a soft drink is RC Cola, which has a pH of around 2.387, making it one of the most acidic sodas on the market. Coca Cola has a 2.525 pH. The least acidic soda is root beer, which is typically around a pH of 4.038. All of these sodas are still less acidic than stomach acid (which is why patients with uncontrolled gastric reflux disease often suffer from dental problems and enamel erosion.)
Just the acidic levels damaging tooth enamel isn’t all. The sugar and artificial sweeteners found in soda give plaque bacteria something to feed on, creating even more acidic byproducts on the teeth. Frequent exposure to sugar and artificial sweeteners (diet soda) will increase the rate and severity of tooth decay which leads to the need for restorative dentistry including fillings, crowns, and other dental restorations. Liquids typically target areas between the teeth and in deep grooves in the chewing surfaces of the back molars, all of which are difficult to keep completely clean.
Limiting exposure to acidic sodas, and rinsing your mouth with water afterward can reduce the amount of acid exposure on your teeth. If you’re going to enjoy a soda, try to do so during a meal so that other foods can neutralize some of the acid levels. If you’re enjoying it between meals, drink it all at once instead of sipping on it for hours.
We’ve all heard that Acid Reflux Disease (GERD) can damage your esophageal tissue, but did you know it could also damage your tooth enamel? While this might not be a surprise at first, what is surprising is how abrasive it is when you consider that enamel is the hardest tissue in the entire human body!
The erosion from acid reflux disease typically causes small, pitted areas on the cusps of the back teeth. It can also cause overall erosion of tooth enamel on smooth tooth surfaces as well. When left untreated, erosion may be so severe that it causes complications with existing dental treatment like fillings or crowns. Not only does the acidity damage the teeth, but it can also make appliances such as braces have difficulty adhering to the tooth. Acid erosion can also occur in patients that suffer from eating disorders such as bulimia, due to the constant purging that exposes the front teeth to stomach acids.
When you allow your medical practitioner to help you manage your acid reflux condition it benefits all of your body. Whether it is by an altered diet, prescription medication, or even GI surgery, preventing acid erosion to your gastrointestinal tract is much more important than you may think. Simply covering up your reflux symptoms with over the counter medication does not correct the problem it just hides it.
While you work with your medical professional to address the needs of your condition, you can protect your teeth by using supplemental fluoride toothpaste or rinses. This allows the fluoride to help add minerals back into damaged tooth enamel, stunting the acid erosion that occurs on a daily basis.
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