Soft Drinks and Your Teeth

Soft Drinks Pack a Hard Punch!

Soft drinks are bad for your teeth in more ways than one. There’s sugar, and then there’s acidity.

The sugar provides the necessary food for the harmful bacteria in your mouth—the average American drinks two cans of soft drinks per day. If you’re drinking that much soda, you’re providing more than enough sugar to give aid and sustenance to the enemy. Remember, bacteria eat what you eat, and sugar sends them into overdrive.

But sugar isn’t the worst culprit. The “fizz” is.

You probably know that soda and sparling water contains bubbles (called carbonation). How does it work? First, carbon dioxide dissolves in water under pressure. Then upon breaking the seal, the process reverses, and gas bubbles form. However, what you probably don’t know, is that carbonation causes a slightly elevated acidity due to carbon dioxide still dissolved in the drink. This result is called carbonic acid.

It’s this acid that has the potential to damage dental enamel, eroding your teeth. And it’s just as harmful in diet sodas as in regular. In fact, sugary but non-bubbly Kool-Aid is far better for your teeth than, say, Diet Coke. The exception is root beer, which has far fewer of the tooth-harming acids than other soft drink flavors.

Don’t let the name “sports drink” fool you into thinking these drinks promote health. Ironically, because of the acid they contain, they are worse for your teeth than other popular beverages.

Bottom line: Drink Responsibly. Limit consumption of soft drinks. When possible, use a straw positioned to direct liquid away from teeth. Rinse mouth with water after enjoying a soda—or, better yet, drink water.

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