Soda is a sweet indulgence favored by many people. And like most indulgences, it’s perfectly fine in moderation. However, if you do drink a lot of carbonated beverages, it can have negative effects on your dental health.
Effects Of Soda On Teeth
There are two ingredients of soda that have negative effects on teeth: sugar and acid. Sugar feeds the bacteria that live inside your mouth. When bacteria metabolize this sugar, they create acid as a byproduct. This “acid attack” lasts for about 20 minutes after you drink a soda, eroding the enamel on your teeth and promoting cavity development.
Most sodas contain two types of acid: phosphoric acid and citric acid. These acidic ingredients compound the problem created by sugar-fed, acid-producing bacteria. Harsh acids in your soda can soften the enamel of your teeth, resulting in acid erosion of your teeth. Over time, this erosion exposes the sensitive inner layer of your teeth, causing sensitivity and pain.
Is Diet Soda Bad For Your Teeth?
Diet soda does not contain sugar. Drinking diet soda prevents any sugar-related damage to your teeth, but diet drinks are still acidic. The lack of sugar makes diet soda less damaging, but there are still some negative effects due to the acid. Drinking diet is better than drinking regular soda, but you should still partake of diet sodas in moderation.
Preventing Soda Damage To Your Teeth
The best way to save your teeth from the damage of soda drinking is to stop drinking soda entirely. But for some people this can be a difficult proposition. If you must drink soda, there are a few things you can do to mitigate the damage to your teeth:
- Reduce Servings – if you normally drink a bottle of soda, switch to drinking a can. If you normally drink a can, try reducing your serving to a smaller, eight ounce can. Avoid drinking free refills – if you go to a restaurant, try to limit yourself to one cup of soda.
- Use A Straw – using a straw allows the drink to bypass your teeth. This minimizes the contact with your teeth so that less acid and sugar affect the enamel.
- Do Not Sip Slowly Over Time – Sipping a soda slowly just prolongs the duration of the bacterial effects on your teeth. It’s best to just drink the soda in a single sitting.
- Drink Water After Drinking Soda – Chasing a drink of soda with a glass of water rinses out your mouth and dilutes any acid that is damaging your enamel. Water is also more effective at hydrating you and satisfying your thirst. This can reduce cravings for more soda.
- Brush Your Teeth After Drinking Soda – If you can, brush your teeth after drinking a soda. This will clean the acid and sugars off your teeth, which will prevent them from eroding your tooth enamel.
- Don’t Drink Soda Right Before Bed – If you drink soda before bed and don’t brush your teeth, harmful acids will work on your teeth enamel while you sleep. Instead of reaching for that soda, drink a glass of water before bed.
Soda is not ideal for dental health, but if you drink it in moderation and make a few minor changes to your habits you can prevent a lot of the damage that it causes. Be aware of how soda affects your teeth and take the simple steps we’ve outlined in this post. And don’t forget to schedule regular dental checkups and cleanings to keep your mouth healthy!