Soft Drinks: Effect on Teeth

soft drinks

Soft drinks are a guilty pleasure that is hard to ignore.

Even when we clearly know that they contain lots of sugars and are not exactly healthy for our oral and overall health.

They are one of the causes of obesity and type 2 diabetes.

But do you know that consuming them forms acids that can eventually erode your enamel leaving you with yellow teeth?

The sugars in the drinks combine with bacteria to release acids.

Furthermore, they also contain acids that result in enamel erosion.

If you like to drink sodas and carbonated drinks, this awareness article is for you.

Learn how regularly drinking them can harm your teeth and oral health.

soft drinks effects on teeth

How Soft Drinks Harm Teeth

Every time you drink a can of soda, you are subjecting your teeth to 20 minutes of harm.

Likewise, if you constantly drink sodas then it harms your teeth all day long.

It can affect your teeth in mainly two ways:

  • Enamel Erosion
  • Cavities

As soon as you drink soft drinks with high sugar and acidic content, they come in contact with your teeth.

Sugar-free drinks also contain acids that can erode the enamel.

The soft drinks industry produces carbonated beverages that are also artificially sweetened beverages as well as carbonated water which is actually safe to drink.

Soft drink sales like that of Coca-Cola and Dr Pepper are huge enough that soft drinks manufacturers are now conglomerates with big market shares.

Though, the sugar sweetened beverages contain more acidity and sugars.

Pepsi contains about 40 grams and 9.8 tablespoons of sugars.

Whereas its acidity is around 4.5.

Mountain Dew’s acidity is 3.7 and its sugar content is around a whopping 11 tablespoons.

Sprite’s sugar content per is 13 teaspoons or 9 tablespoons.

Its acidity is around 3.6.

Even if Diet Coke has no sugar its acidity is still 3.6.

Therefore, even if there are no sugars, they still contain acids but generally they are high in both acidic and sugary content.

enamel erosion

The enamel does not contain cells hence, it does not regrow once worn out.

Sodas have aplenty of sugars that interact with bacteria and produce acids.

These acids act on the enamel, weakening and eroding it.

They can reduce its surface hardness and decalcify it making it available for further damage.

As the enamel erodes, teeth protection significantly reduces.

The erosion reveals the sensitive dentine layer which results in sensitive teeth and pain.

Furthermore, the dentin is naturally darker than the enamel.

Hence, your teeth will also appear much yellower if your enamel erodes gradually.

But enamel erosion also poses a greater risk of other dental problems such as cavities and decay.


Getting Cavities

Energy drinks and juices like orange juice will also wear out the enamel as sodas.

However, they do not affect the dentin but sodas do.

In fact, they can also harm the composite fillings if you get any.

It is a double threat.

It manages to weaken your enamel, the sugars and acidic content also encourages the growth of bacteria inside your mouth.

This leads to an accumulation of bacteria on your teeth and with the dentin exposed, it can cause a hole known as a cavity.

You may not notice a cavity immediately until it greatly harms your teeth by forming a black hole.

The damage after drinking any soda can last up to full 20 minutes.

In this time, it can manage to erode your enamel and decay your teeth if you keep drinking sodas.

Cavities will not form immediately but over time.

Therefore, constant use of sodas is likely to cause you cavities one day when the enamel has already eroded and the dentin is in danger.

Moreover, if you do not take care of your oral health, then you are likely subjecting your teeth to more harm.

The cavities will grow if you do not brush or floss properly and especially brush a few minutes after you drink sodas.

It is easy to forget after all we do not carry our toothbrushes everywhere.

However, there are other ways through which you can protect your teeth from the harm sodas cause.

Want to know about that? Let’s find out below!

directly drinking soft drinks

Preventing Damage From Soft Drinks

You have sodas around you everywhere.

Having a meal in a restaurant or eating at your friend’s home, almost everywhere you will be offered a soft drink with your meal.

It isn’t really easy to avoid it when it is that accessible.

Though, if you do have the will to avoid it completely then it is the best solution.

That said, you can still reduce its impact if you occasionally take it.

This helps to prevent greater damage that can result from regularly consuming sodas.

  • Reduce Its Intake

You should limit the number of glasses you drink each day.

It is best to only drink occasionally.

Treating yourself once in a while is enough.

However, if you drink daily then even one glass can cause harm.

Completely give up on drinking more than a glass.

This prevents the mouth from restoring its normal pH and your teeth are constantly under attack of bacteria, sugars and acids.

using straw to drink

  • Drink Only Using a Straw and Quickly

Always use a straw while you are drinking sodas from your nearby vending machines or otherwise.

This prevents the sugars and acids in the drink to get in contact with teeth.

Using a straw, the drinks directly reach the back of the mouth.

Furthermore, drink fastly.

Do not let soda come in contact with your teeth for a longer time.

Fastly gulp it all down and using a straw you will also drink quickly.

  • Drink Them Only With Food

When you are chewing food there is a greater amount of saliva inside your mouth that pushes all food down the esophagus and helps to neutralize the acids.

The saliva does not allow any food debris to get stuck inside your mouth.

Rather it flushes all food down.

When there are no food particles (such as fruits and vegetables) stuck on your teeth then the bacteria and acids do not attack the teeth.

However, when it comes to drinks, they aren’t stuck but attach to the teeth.

Though, drinking them during meals helps to push them along the food particles through your oral cavity.

Therefore, if you really want to have a soda, drink it during meals.

The increased salivary flow will keep it from attaching to your teeth.

rinsing mouth

  • As Soon As You Drink-Rinse!

You should not accumulate sugars inside your mouth and let them sit.

Rather, your first step should be to rinse.

Most soda will go through your mouth and the rest that remains will start attacking your teeth.

Therefore, if you rinse your mouth with water and swish it for a few seconds will help wash away the harmful acids and sugars.

Thus your teeth will be less under attack.

But why am I advising you to rinse your mouth instead of brushing your teeth?

Well, there is a reason behind it. You should never brush your teeth immediately after consuming sodas.

  • Do Not Brush Your Teeth After Drinking Them

Soft drinks have acids and toothpaste contains abrasives.

These abrasives rub against your teeth to remove any particles that stain your teeth and accumulate bacteria like plaque.

However, a combination of acids and abrasives is certainly not good.

Your teeth were already under an acid attack.

And now they will also be subjected to friction due to the action of brushing and abrasives in toothpaste.

Many may think that it will get rid of the acids and sugars but no, that is incorrect.

There is a greater risk of harming your oral health, teeth and gums if you immediately choose to brush.

What should you do instead? 

Wait at least 30 to 60 minutes before you brush and then do so thoroughly.

By this time the saliva has already acted on the acids and sugars washing them down.

Also, if you rinse your mouth with water, then the remaining substances clear from your teeth too.

Now, you can brush your teeth to prevent cavities and decay.

  • Look for Alternatives

The diet substitute of soft drinks does not contain any natural sugars but they are still acidic.

However, their acidic content is also lower than the non-diet options.

Therefore, if you are really in the mood to drink a can of soda, then go for the diet alternative.

At least it has no sugars which will prevent the damage from getting beyond control.

You can also drink fruit juices or energy drinks.

Though they harm the enamel, they do not pose a threat to the dentin.

However, they are still not the best option.

The best option is water.

Drinking water is not only good for your health but also for your teeth.

It has zero sugars, zero acids and zero calories.

Obviously, this is only possible if you can completely give up sodas and other drinks to stick only with water.

  • Do Not Drink Before Bedtime

Even if you cannot give up on soda, make a rule:

“You will not drink any soda before bedtime.”

After you brush your teeth, yous should not eat or drink anything, especially sodas.

The sugars and acids will keep attacking your teeth for the entire night.

Soon, your enamel will start eroding and you will also get cavities.

man maintaing oral hygiene by brushing

  • Maintain Proper Oral hygiene and Visit Your Dentist

Do not skip meeting your dentist every 6 months.

Only they can assess if your teeth are at risk of enamel erosion and cavities before you notice any signs.

Moreover, a bi-annual exam also contains teeth cleanings.

So, they will get rid of any plaque or bacteria that is accumulating because of acids inside your mouth.

Beyond that, you should also maintain your oral hygiene by brushing twice a day and flossing once.

This will help keep the damage from soft drinks and unhealthy foods at bay.



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