Since the past decade, there has been a sharp rise in the consumption of sodas. In fact, research shows that one-half of the American population has a sugary drink at least once a day. Such high rates have led to an increase in weight gain, obesity and poor dietary habits in the younger generation. With such far-reaching and negative consequences, it wouldn’t be incorrect to think of this trend as an epidemic.
As newer studies reveal more and more health problems linked with the excessive consumption of soft drinks, let’s take a look at the effects soda has on your teeth:
There is a constant and natural buildup of bacteria in our mouths in the form of a sticky layer referred to as plaque. The bacteria are known to feed on sugar—aka the juices, soda, and energy drinks you consume. When soda and bacteria come into contact, they metabolize the sugars, creating acids as a byproduct. The acid then proceeds to attack the enamel and tooth structure, putting your teeth at risk of tooth decay.
Most soft drinks contain citric and phosphoric acid, which are destructive to the health of your teeth. Acids cause the enamel to soften, exposing your teeth to an increased risk of tooth decay and cavities. This erosion exposes the inner layers of your teeth and makes them highly sensitive and painful. Receding gum-lines are at an increased risk of damage from the acids.
Preventing the Damage
For many people out there, drinking soda has become habitual and might prove impossible to stop immediately. Here are a few tips you can follow to minimize the damage:
· Moderation: If you can’t leave it all together, limit your drinking to just one can/bottle per day.
· Drink quickly: Don’t drink it slowly or let it remain in your mouth. That gives it more time to feed the bacteria and cause erosion. Use a straw so that there is minimal contact between the soda and the teeth.
· Drink water: Apart from switching to increased water consumption, rinse your mouth with water to wash away the acid and sugar remnants.
· Don’t immediately brush: Brushing after drinking soda makes sense, but why delay it? Research shows that waiting 30 minutes to an hour is important as the teeth have just undergone an acid-attack and the friction and pressure caused by the toothbrush in their vulnerable state can cause further damage.
· Avoid drinking just before sleep: It allows sugars and acids to wreak havoc all night.
Hopefully, this blog highlights the importance of staying away from soft drinks and maintaining proper oral hygiene and while it’s to your advantage to follow the above advice, it’s best to have routine dental checkups for you and the family.