Soda is one of the largest single sources of calories and added sugar in the American diet. Due to its addicting sweetness, high consumption of soft drinks or soda has become a growing health concern in the US. Today, the average consumption of every American is a staggering 50 gallons per year.
In this post, we will discuss how soda consumption can damage your teeth and your overall health. We also prepared some tips to help you gradually detach from the habit of drinking soda so you can overcome the craving.
What makes soda consumption a threat to your teeth?
Soda contains high levels of sugar and acids, which makes it a powerful beverage against your tooth enamel. A 12-ounce can of Coke contains about ten teaspoons or 39 grams of sugar. Because of its liquid nature, gulping down a can of soda is equivalent to bathing your teeth with an acidic and sugary solution.
Over time, the acids in soda will weaken your tooth enamel (tooth erosion) and pave convenient access for the bacteria to damage your teeth. The high sugar level in soda also encourages the increase of bacteria in your mouth, making you more susceptible to tooth decay.
Another indirect effect of soda is modifying your drink preferences. Frequent soda consumption results in reduced intake of healthier alternatives for your teeth. Milk, in particular, is rich in calcium and other minerals that are good for your oral health.
Calcium in milk is essential in building strong teeth and bones. An insufficient supply of calcium in your body can affect the integrity of your teeth and impairs the remineralization of the tooth enamel. With the damage from soda and inadequate calcium intake, your oral health will eventually take the toll and can only get worse if you will not change your drinking habit.
Managing your soda consumption
If drinking soda is deeply ingrained in your habits, it can be hard to avoid it in one go. Sodas are so prevalent in the American diet that immediate elimination can be unrealistic. Just like any lifestyle change, removing soda from your diet and introducing healthier drink alternatives is a gradual process.
As you work on choosing a healthier diet for your oral health, consider the following tips to keep the damaging effects of soda at bay:
- Maintain good oral hygiene such as brushing and flossing to combat the effects of soda on your teeth. Wait for one hour before you brush your teeth to allow your saliva to decrease the acidity or the PH level in your mouth.
- Choose a healthier drink alternative like milk, fruit smoothies, or plain water. Drinking less sugary drinks has a huge impact not only on your teeth but also on your overall health. If you are a vegan or a vegetarian, soy milk is a good alternative to dairy milk.
- Use a straw when drinking soda, sports drinks, and citrus fruit juices to minimize the contact of acid and sugar on your teeth.
- Sugar-free drinks like diet coke can still damage your teeth due to their acid content.
- Do not keep the soda in your mouth. Sip it and swallow immediately to prevent it from eroding your tooth enamel.
- Rinse your mouth with water and consume milk or cheese right after you eat or drink acidic food and drinks. Cheese and other dairy products can neutralize the acidity in your mouth and prevent it from damaging your tooth enamel.
- Always hydrate to maintain a normal saliva flow and prevent dry mouth. Saliva also serves as a barrier to protect your teeth against the damaging acid attacks from drinking soda and plaque buildup.
- A timely visit to the dentist is always a crucial factor in maintaining good oral health and preventing the progression of tooth decay.
If you are a notorious soda-lover, it’s only a matter of time before the damages in your teeth manifest and cause complications. Soft Touch Dental provides comprehensive dental services in Florissant, MO, and St. Louis County. Get ahead of dental conditions and schedule an appointment with your dentist today.