Who does not love soft drinks? Whether you are coming back from work on a summer evening or just enjoying yourself at a party – we all love sipping on that refreshing Cola! Soda or cola is considered a harmless beverage for adults, teens and even kids. But do you know that soft drinks have emerged as one the leading culprits behind dental problems, such as decay and cavities?
In this article, we will learn more about the various effects of soft drinks on teeth.
How do soft drinks harm your teeth?
Picture this – a 350 ml can of your favourite soft drink contains almost 40 grams of sugar that is almost 10 teaspoons of sugar! High amounts of sugar is not only bad for your waistline, but also for your smile. This is because when you drink such a beverage, the sugar interacts with the bacteria already present in your mouth.
As a result of this interaction, lactic acid is produced inside your mouth as a byproduct. This acid starts attacking your teeth. Soft drinks contain phosphoric and nitric acid that also attack your teeth. When this phosphoric acid and lactic acid come together, the pH balance in your mouth is reduced. This causes demineralization of your teeth.
In simple terms, demineralization is the process by which your enamel gets damaged. Normally, after you consume a good amount of sugar, the saliva in your mouth restores the pH balance. It also remineralizes your teeth. But repeated consumption of soft drinks harms this process, causing serious damage to your teeth.
With every sip of soda, you are starting a harmful reaction that may last for about 20 minutes.
Harmful effects of soft drinks on teeth
The two main dental problems that arise due to soft drink consumption are –
Erosion is commonly called tooth decay. This occurs when the acid in soft drinks attacks your tooth enamel, which is the protective outermost layer. Erosion causes the surface hardness of the enamel to reduce. This loss of enamel can expose the nerve endings at the root of your teeth.
Have you ever experienced a stinging pain or similar sensation when you sip something hot or cold? This is due to erosion that exposes your nerve endings. This is also known as sensitive teeth. The pain may be there for a few minutes. If a lot of damage is done to the enamel, this pain may last for a few hours, where painkillers can fail too.
Soft drinks also attack the layer beneath the enamel called dentin. When this layer is damaged and starts to wear out, you get cavities. These are openings on your enamel that can get converted into holes or openings. This is one of the most dangerous effects of soft drinks on teeth.
If left untreated, cavities become larger in size and can affect deeper layers of your teeth. You may suffer from severe toothache, infection and may even lose teeth.
All these facts worrying you? Well, you might have realized by now that soft drinks are not as harmless as you think they are. But simply worrying will not help you protect your teeth. You need to take actionable steps for it.
Tips for healthy teeth
You might be thinking that the easiest solution is to stop drinking soft drinks once and for all. But for some of you, it might be difficult to quit sipping on your beloved cola. You can do the following to protect your teeth –
Don’t sip, drink fast
First and foremost, limit your soft drink consumption to one per day. Then while drinking, don’t just sip casually, instead try to drink faster. This is because when you drink quickly, the sugars and acids in the beverages do not have much time to harm your teeth. Use a straw to drink your beverages.
Wash your teeth
Rinse your mouth after drinking soda. This will help to wash away the harmful acids and sugars from your teeth. But if you want to brush your teeth, wait for half an hour or at least 1 hour. This is because brushing right after drinking soda will create friction on the teeth that have been attacked by sugar and acids recently. This may harm your teeth. Make it a habit to brush or floss regularly and twice a day.
No soft drinks before you sleep
Avoiding sugary drinks before going to bed will prevent the acids and sugars from harming your teeth all night long.
You can drink beverages along with a meal. This is healthy as during eating you produce a lot of saliva that helps to break the acids and sugars in these drinks.
Apart from the points mentioned above, the best way to battle the dangerous effects of soft drinks on teeth is to go for frequent dental checkups. This will ensure that your teeth are fine and detect problems early before they aggravate. Want to know more about the effects of soft drinks on teeth? Consult a doctor online on MediBuddy.