Millions of liters of carbonated drinks are produced and sold yearly, and studies show that excessive intake of carbonated drinks, especially in growing children, carries a higher risk of tooth decay. Carbonated drinks contain many different compounds which are detrimental to the teeth and oral health in general. Drinking soda daily can increase your chances of having cavities and tooth decay even if you brush your teeth after each meal and floss daily.
Acid in Soda
Carbonated drinks are carbon rich, hence the name. The addition of carbon lowers the pH of the drinks, making them acidic. Acidic drinks in your mouth lower the pH and the buffering action of your saliva. The outer layer of the tooth, known as enamel, gradually breaks down when exposed to acidic compounds. Minerals begin to dissociate on the surface of the tooth and the process, called demineralization, occurs. Demineralization is the process in which the mineral layer of the tooth, which is composed of calcium and fluoride compounds, slowly weaken their bonds with each other and eventually dissociate.
Sugar in Pop
Carbonated drinks are very rich in sugar or other sweetening products such as high fructose corn syrup, all of which are detrimental your oral health. Excess sugar in your mouth, when not removed promptly by brushing, is utilized by cavity-causing bacteria particularly Streptococcus mutans. When sugar is utilized for energy by oral bacteria, by-products are co-produced, such as lactic acid, especially low oxygen conditions. Lactic acid has been known to cause demineralization of the teeth. Glucose or any other sugars are sticky in nature, which make it easier for bacteria to attach to the surface of your teeth and cause more damage.
Longer Exposure to Soda
Sipping the carbonated drink is very popular, especially with children, but such action does more damage to your teeth compared to drinking cola in one swallow. This is due to longer time that the cola can interact with the teeth. The longer the cola stays in the mouth, the greater the effect of demineralization over time. Avoiding the holding of carbonated drinks in your mouth lowers your chances of tooth decay.
Dental Hygiene to Combat Your Soda Drinking Addiction
Brushing your teeth with fluoridated toothpaste and gargling with anti-plaque mouthwash after consuming carbonated drinks can help minimize the damage that soda can do to your teeth. Toothpastes containing high levels of calcium and fluoride stop the demineralization of enamel crystals and repairs any damage done to the tooth. It also lowers bacterial population through its antimicrobial action or by physical dislodging of the bacteria.
Almost everyone likes to drink soda. However, Dr. Barber, and his well trained staff at Alliance Family Dental in Fayetteville, NC, would like you to limit the amount of soda you drink so as to lessen the amount of damage to your teeth.