No matter the season, soda never goes out of style. People drink it on sweltering hot days, chilly spring or fall days, or even on bone-chilling winter days ( though those are usually inside while watching a sporting event). Whatever the time of year, they are also possibly damaging their teeth with every sip.
Here are some of the effects of soda on one’s teeth.
What happens is, with every delicious gulp, the soda starts a chain reaction with the saliva in one’s mouth and creates acids that start attacking the enamel. It’s not a brief reaction either – it goes on for 20 minutes… each time. That can spell trouble for those who like to drink it all day long.
Sugary sodas can be blamed the most, but diet sodas can have their own set of problems, including teeth staining. Also, people have to think about the effect on their waistlines, since each soda has a lot of empty calories that can cause them to get heavier.
If things are allowed to progress too far, though, then the enamel will be gone. That will leave the tooth and root possibly exposed to decay and cavities. Even teeth with fillings in them are not safe from these effects. This will lead to the need for more dental work.
What someone should NOT do is to immediately brush their teeth after drinking soda. The acid attack will actually leave their teeth in a sensitive state and brushing them can actually lead to irritation of the teeth and gums. They can rinse their mouths out with water – that can get rid of some of the sugar – and then brush their teeth afterward.
The Long-Term Plan
It can be difficult, if not nearly impossible, for people to give up soda completely. They can reduce it and also drink water in between. One possible thing they could do is to drink the soda through a straw. That means not much of the sugar will touch the teeth and thus reduce the chances of one’s enamel being attacked.
The best defense is to go to the dentist twice a year, which should be enough to catch any damage in the early reversible stages. Regularly brushing and flossing is extremely important, since that will also help keep one’s oral health at its peak.
Dr. Robert M. Trager has seen the effects of soda on many patients over the course of his career. He will be glad to guide patients through what they need to do during their next check-up.