From San Clemente Dentist Dr. Eric Johnson
Sodas, Soft Drinks and Your Dental Health
Summer is a great time to enjoy the great outdoors. And along with outdoor fun comes our favorite ice cold drinks. Among the most popular summer time drinks are sodas like Coke, Pepsi, RC, and many others. To many, these beverages in their cold state have a refreshing and satisfying taste. But while consuming them, many fail to consider the adverse effect they may be having on their teeth.
The fact is that consumption of soft drinks like sodas is one of the top causes of tooth decay. The carbonation in these beverages combines with the acid and sugars to weaken the tooth enamel and foster the growth of certain kinds of bacteria, which also contributes to the decaying of your teeth.
Here are some other essential facts about how sodas accelerate the process of tooth decay:
- The sugar in the soft drink mixes with other bacteria in the mouth to cause acidic formations.
- These acids, along with the acids that are already in the soda, launch an attack against the teeth.
- These acidic attacks go on for roughly 20-25 minutes, and began anew every time you take another sip of your favorite soft drink.
- These attacks exact a damaging toll on your teeth – weakening enamel and opening up many areas where a cavity can be formed.
Remember, even if you drink so-called diet soda, while you may be reducing your caloric intake and thus helping (though probably quite moderately) your chances of maintaining or losing weight, you are not doing yourself any favors when it comes to acidic attacks inside your mouth. These diet sodas still contain lots of acids that will still damage your teeth and lead to cavity formations.
So how do you lessen the risk of tooth decay happening to you? Here are some steps to take:
- Drink only moderate amounts of soft drinks such as sodas.
- NEVER give carbonated beverages to infants or toddlers in a bottle or sipping cup. This promotes decaying of the teeth. If you give them any at all (which you should really think twice about doing), it is best to serve it to them in a small paper cup.
- Choose to drink distilled, purified or spring water over fizzy beverages whenever possible.
- Do not drink soda or soft drinks before going to bed as this is the time when higher levels of bacteria form in your mouth.
- Shortly after consuming sodas or soft drinks, rinse out your mouth with water and/or brush your teeth. You do not necessarily need to use toothpaste, just give the teeth and gums a good brushing to lessen the effect of the acidic attacks.
- As always, see your dentist for cleanings at least every 6 months. And if you are a heavy carbonated beverage drinker, follow this timeline closely and do not let too many months pass by between cleanings.