What to Know About Soda and Your Teeth

When the weather starts getting hotter, cold delicious beverages become more tempting than ever —  including soda. While one soda now and then probably won’t cause many problems, consuming too much soda can lead to major tooth decay. If you are concerned about your soda consumption and oral health, check out more about your teeth and soda.

Soda May Contain Lots of Sugar

Unless you choose diet soda, that can or bottle you’re drinking contains a lot of sugar. The recommended sugar intake, according to the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, is 17 teaspoons of added sugar per day. One 12-ounce can of soda may contain about 9.75 teaspoons, depending on the type of soda. With just one can, you’re getting about half of the recommended intake.

Sugar is terrible for your oral health because it promotes decay. Your mouth naturally contains bacteria, which is normally fine, but if you have too much sugar and plaque, the bacteria begin to consume the sugar and produce acids.

These acids are strong enough to destroy the strongest substance in your body — tooth enamel. As the enamel is worn away, the bacteria can reach the underlying dentin with ease. This leads to tooth decay or tooth infection if the bacteria reach the tooth’s pulp.

Soda Is an Acidic Beverage

If you drink diet soda, don’t assume you are safe. While it’s true that with diet soda, you won’t have to worry about sugar, and the artificial sweeteners in diet sodas don’t feed bacteria, diet soda is still an acidic beverage, and acid is what promotes decay. Therefore, even sodas with no sugar may encourage tooth decay.

A lot of beverages are acidic, but soda puts many of them to shame. For example, on average, the erosive potential of soda is 10 times more than fruit juices. The erosion is so intense, that a study even showed teeth immersed in certain sodas had a weight loss of about 5 percent.

If you still want to partake in a soda every now and then, but you don’t want the acid on your teeth, there are some tricks. The first one is to, of course, only drink soda in moderation. When you do drink it, consider using a straw to keep the soda off your teeth. You can also rinse your mouth with water after drinking, but don’t brush your teeth. The acid softens your enamel, and brushing could scratch the enamel.

Soda May Increase the Risk of Diabetes

Finally, consuming lots of sugary beverages increases your risk of diabetes. Studies have shown that people who drink just one typical can of soda a day were more likely to develop type 2 diabetes. Diabetes alone is terrible, but it can devastate your oral health if you don’t manage your sugar levels.

Diabetes does not tend to increase the risk of cavities, but it does slow healing, especially if your blood glucose levels are too high. This is particularly bad for your gums. The same bacteria that destroys your teeth can actually irritate your gums, leading to gum disease. Thanks to slow healing, it may be difficult to reverse the infection.

Failing to treat your early gum disease may allow it to advance to periodontitis. Periodontitis doesn’t just affect the gums. It attacks bone, including your jawbone, which is needed to support teeth. As the jawbone weakens, tooth loss becomes more likely.

If you consume a lot of soda, it’s best to cut back. If you do indulge, try to keep the sugar and acid off your teeth with a straw, and rinse your mouth after. If you have more questions about soda and your teeth, or if you already have damage from too much soda, contact us at Snodgrass-King today.