How often has your dentist told you and your children to lay off soft drinks? Chances are they nag you every time you visit. Soft drinks (‘pop’ and ‘soda’) like Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Sprite, and Dr. Pepper have long been warned as causing long-lasting damage to teeth. But what is it they do that causes tooth decay and cavities?
Here’s what the Canadian Dental Association has to say about soft drinks and sugar-free drinks.
Soft drinks—even the sugar-free ones—contain acid that erodes tooth enamel. If you must, drink them quickly and…avoid extended contact with your teeth.
Sweet carbonated beverages cause tooth decay, dissolve enamel, increase harmful bacteria in your mouth which leads to gum disease. All in all, sweet carbonated sodas are fairly potent at damaging teeth.
In the last two decades, the number of soft drink drinkers in Canada has reduced dramatically. The chart below shows how widespread soft drink consumption remains. These statistics only represent those who drink regular soft drinks; with diet soft-drink drinkers, the numbers are higher still.
Sodas affect your teeth in a number of ways.
Increasing plaque – Regular soft drinks and sugary carbonated beverages introduce high levels of sugar into the mouth. When bacteria (plaque) come into contact with these sugars, they metabolize them into acids. These acids damage the enamel and the tooth.
Eroding enamel – Most sodas contain phosphoric and citric acids that are extremely harmful to teeth. They soften the enamel, making teeth more susceptible to cavity and decay. It’s why you feel hypersensitivity/pain after drink sodas. But the most damage happens below the gum line.
Dissolving enamel – Carbonated drinks like soft drinks aggressively dissolve enamel (and teeth). Research has found no difference between dissolution caused by regular and diet pop.
Do your teeth feel chalky after a drink? It’s the phosphoric acid reacting with your teeth and gums.
The best way of stopping your teeth from yellowing is by not having soft drinks, regular or diet, at all! That said, if you must have soft drinks, do these things to minimize the effect of these drinks.
Even if you rarely indulge in soft drinks, there are other ways to put your teeth at risk of decay and cavities that you may not be aware of. Visit a Dawson Dental clinic near you for a check-up today or consult a dentist online right now.