Harvard School of Public Health notes that as a category taken together, soft drinks are the single largest source of added sugar in an American’s diet. Not taking into account the epidemic of sugar addiction across the country, this much sugar can wreak havoc on your teeth. Sugar is one of the major causes of tooth decay. According to The Guardian, over 79% of sugary soft drinks on grocery shelves contain up to six teaspoons of sugar or more for every 330 ml can.
The reason why sugar is bad for your teeth is that it’s a significant source of cavities. A paper published by the University of Zhejiang notes that soft drinks have the potential to cause cavities because of their acidity and the volume of sugar they contain. Soft drinks can be harmful to teeth even if you limit your intake to one a day. Most people don’t limit themselves, unfortunately. The Huffington Post mentions that half of Americans consume soda daily. This fact isn’t only alarming, but it underlines how ingrained sugary soft drinks are in our lives and why it concerns a dentist in Orlando.
The Major Impact of Soft Drinks
When you consume a soft drink, the sugar that is contained within it interacts with the bacteria that live on your teeth. These bacteria produce acid to digest the sugar. In addition to the acid produced by these bacteria, soft drinks themselves already contain their own acids. These also act on the tooth and weaken it, making it easier for holes to form. Soft drinks affect your teeth in two specific ways:
- Erosion: When the soft drink acid encounters the enamel of your teeth, it starts to eat away at that outer layer. Their chemical interaction weakens the enamel. The same chemistry occurs with fruit juices and sports drinks, but those drinks usually stop once they interact with the enamel.
- Cavity formation: The layer beneath the enamel is called the dentin, and it’s here that soft drinks have their worst effects. The soft drink eats into the dentin, allowing for the formation of cavities. Combined with poor oral health, the interaction of soft drinks on teeth can lead to a lot of problems.
Preventing the Damage with the Help of Your Dentist in Orlando
The most apparent solution to this problem is to stop drinking soda altogether. However, that’s a pretty extreme decision, and one that not many people will think makes sense. Soda is just too readily available to cut it out entirely from our lives. Based on the numbers stated, soft drinks make up an intrinsic part of our lives.
Tips for Drinking Sugary Drinks
Even if you don’t completely stop drinking soda, there are a handful of actions that can benefit your teeth in the long run, including:
Avoid soda before going to bed
Sugar tends to make your body feel active and awake. However, that’s not the only reason for consuming sugar before bed is terrible. When you go to sleep, assuming you didn’t brush or floss your teeth, the sugar that you consumed remains stuck to your teeth. The bacteria in plaque start producing acid that digests the sugar and attacks your teeth all the time that you’re asleep.
Wait a while before brushing your teeth
Some of us think that if we brush our teeth right after we consume a soft drink that it’ll save them from harm. However, the truth is that if we do decide to brush our teeth so soon after drinking sugary beverages, the friction on the surface of the teeth could help contribute to the erosion of the enamel. It’s better to wait half an hour to an hour before brushing your teeth after drinking a soft drink.
Rinse your mouth afterward
Most people who drink soft drinks like the lingering aftertaste that it leaves in their mouths. However, it’s a much better practice to rinse your mouth with water after drinking soft drinks. This course of action ensures that the remnants of sugar from the soda don’t remain stuck to your teeth and lead to tooth decay.
Use a straw while drinking
Straws can help to keep the sugary composition off your teeth. While it’s not really that much of a huge difference (the sweet leftovers remain on your tongue and can end up on your teeth eventually), it does manage to keep the majority of the sugar away from your teeth.
Consume in moderation
Keeping your soft drink consumption down to one per day is ideal. If you can go even further and cut them out for a couple of days, that would help a lot in keeping your teeth in good condition. Additionally, when you drink a soft drink, try to finish it quickly. The less time you spend consuming it, the less time the acidic interaction of the liquid has with your teeth.
Alternative Options for Soft Drinks
Sugary soft drinks are a pretty bad choice for a drink, but your dentist in Orlando knows there are other non-alcoholic drinks that you can replace them with. The singular most important one of these is plain water.
Water is an essential medium for your body, and staying hydrated is crucial to maintaining good health. Additionally, drinking lots of water can be useful for your teeth since it helps them to clear out any particles of food or sugar that have been left over from when you ate. Healthline mentions that we should drink at least two liters of water (half a gallon) a day. Sadly, most of us don’t because we replace water with soft drinks.
Tea or Milk
Other alternatives that a dentist in Orlando recommends include things like unsweetened tea or milk. Milk is especially useful because it can help with the remineralization of teeth. The Journal of the California Dental Association mentions that the consumption of milk can prevent cavities. Still, it goes deeper than that. Several factors work to help your teeth remain healthy and strong when you drink milk. Apart from remineralization, it stops bacterial colonization and inhibits the formation of biofilm on teeth, which can slow the formation of cavities.
Some people prefer having sparkling water as a replacement for soft drinks. Not a whole lot of research has been done on sparkling water’s effect on teeth. The sugar is the most dangerous part of soft drinks. Even so, there have been studies that suggest sparkling water might be harmful to teeth. A study published by the Korean Journal of Orthodontics indicates that sparkling water might cause damage to teeth that already display cracks of fissures that come about by other means. While sparkling water isn’t as dangerous as soft drinks, it carries threats of its own.
Keeping Your Teeth in Perfect Shape with the Help of Your Dentist in Orlando
Taking care of your teeth is more than just brushing and flossing regularly. Your diet is as much a part of taking care of your oral hygiene as cleaning and visiting your dentist in Orlando. At Serene Dental, we pride ourselves on advising our clients on the best methodology for taking care of their teeth. For proper dental care, you should visit your dentist twice a year. If you haven’t had your yearly dental visit yet, why not contact us now to plan one? We’d be happy to have you come check us out!