Soft drinks are notorious for compromising physical health. However, they remain a big threat due to the high consumption. All of us are either avid consumers of soft drinks or have tasted one or two products. The high-sugar carbonated drinks are associated with unhealthy weight gain, obesity and diabetes. Moreover, they can compromise oral health by initiating damage on teeth and gums. Here is what happens to your teeth when you take soft drinks.
Soft drinks have a high concentration of processed sugar. Upon consumption the sugar is digested by bacteria in the oral cavity. The digestion yields acidic by-products that attack teeth and compromise the integrity. Although regular and sugar-free sodas are marketed as excellent alternatives, they also contain acids that damage the enamel.
Effects of soft drinks on teeth
Soft drinks have two main effects on the oral cavity; erosion and cavities
When the acid from bacterial digestion and the soda encounter the enamel they erode the surface. Since the enamel is a protective layer, erosion compromises on the integrity of teeth. Fruit juices and sports drinks also damage the enamel but their effect ceases on the tooth surface.
The effect of soft drinks extends to the inner layer of teeth, the dentin. Damage to the enamel causes cavities and further consumption of soft drinks extends the damage compromising oral hygiene.
Effect on the gum
Soft drinks also affect the gum. Acid in the drinks causes gum recession and this leaves one susceptible to gingivitis. Although diet soda lacks processed sugars, it still has harmful acids.
Prevention of the effects of soft drinks
To curb the effects of soft drinks on oral health, you only need to stop consuming the products. However, that is easier said than done. Some practices reduce the risk of damaging teeth.
Drinking in moderation
If you can’t put down a can of soda perhaps you can reduce your intake. Limiting your intake to not more than one soft drink a day will reduce the rate of damage to your teeth. Moreover, it’s a great way to manage the habit at the event that you decide to give it up.
Use a straw
Soft drinks cause damage when they are in contact with teeth. A straw reduces the surface area of contact keeping harmful acids away from teeth.
Although it’s tempting to slowly sip your soft drink slowly and enjoy the taste, slow consumption gives the acid in the drink more time to cause havoc. The faster you drink up, the less time acids and sugars have to destroy your teeth.
Rinse your mouth
After you consume soft drinks, it’s important to rinse your mouth and clear out any solutions in the oral cavity. Water is enough to wash away all sugars and acids that remain in your mouth after downing a can of soda. Rinsing is effective in preventing damage to the enamel.
Delay tooth brushing
Although the obvious choice is to brush your teeth immediately after taking soft drinks, this option is not a good idea. Brushing causes abrasion on the enamel. After an acid attack on the tooth, such abrasion can do more harm than good. If you have consumed any soft drink, wait for 30 minutes to an hour to brush your teeth. Moreover, it would be prudent to rinse first before commencing with tooth brushing.
Don’t drink before bedtime
Soft drinks are a good midnight snack but bedtime is the worst time to consume them. Considering the night is the longest interval between meals, consumption of soft drinks has extended effects during this period. Therefore, it’s important to avoid soft drinks before bedtime.
Soft drinks have far reaching effects on teeth. The ultimate solution is to stop consumption. However, if you can’t give it up, manage your habit and see your dentist in Maroubra for regular check-ups.