There was a time when soda was an occasional treat, but today it’s a regular part of many people’s diet, especially children and teenagers. And while sales of soda have consistently dropped over the past decade, on any given day, 25% of the U.S. population consumes more than one 12-ounce can of soda.
In many cases, soda has taken the place of water, an essential element for keeping our bodies hydrated. Whether you call it soda, cola, or pop, sugary drinks are now one of the most significant dietary sources of tooth decay.
It’s not just sugar that makes soda so bad for your teeth
One 12-ounce serving of soda contains 8 to 10 teaspoons of sugar, more than the daily amount recommended by the American Heart Association for women and right at the daily allowance for men. All that sugar can cause cavities very quickly, but that is not the only risk.
Soda and sports drinks are also very acidic, which can lead to tooth decay and enamel loss.
Soda is delicious, but dangerous
Soda might be a refreshing sweet for many people but here’s what it does to your teeth:
- Tooth erosion
- Damage to enamel and dentin
- Increased risk for cavities
Excessive soda consumption has also been linked to other health complications like obesity, diabetes, and osteoporosis.
How to prevent the harmful effects of soda on teeth
Aside from giving up soda altogether (not a bad idea), there are proactive steps you can take to lessen the risk of damaging your teeth with sugary beverages:
- Drink through a straw so that the soda does not swish around in your mouth and adhere to all your teeth.
- Rinse your mouth with water after drinking a soda.
- Restrict other sugary beverages to occasional use.
- Limit a child’s intake of 100% juice to 4 to 6 ounces per day.
- Avoid brushing right after drinking soda, waiting at least an hour after your last meal
And, of course, see your dentist regularly so she or he can check for erosion or enamel and dentin damage.
Hydrate the natural way
Proper hydration is critical to your overall health. Because most soft drinks contain sugar and caffeine, they can actually speed up dehydration in your body. Some people substitute sports drinks, non-cola sodas, iced tea, and lemonade for soda, but these drinks can also cause significant damage to your tooth enamel, which can then lead to tooth decay.
So, what’s the solution? The most natural beverage on earth—water. The next time you’re tempted to reach for a caffeinated beverage, drink water instead. It will soon become a healthy habit that won’t damage your teeth like soda can.
Don’t take your oral health for granted!
You don’t have to give up soda completely, but if you limit it to special occasions and then rinse your mouth out with water after drinking it, you’ll be well on your way to keeping your mouth happy and healthy.
Caven Dental offers a unique and comprehensive dental experience. If you want to learn more about the effects of soda on your teeth or about taking care of your overall oral health, contact our doctors, Dr. Richard Caven, Dr. Shelby Denman, and Dr. Stephen Carpenter, by calling our Caven Dental office in Jacksonville, FL, to schedule a consultation today!