It’s summertime. You want to reach for something cold & refreshing. More often than not, you find this to be a can of soda or an artificially sweetened liquid that tastes just as delicious. Well, we’re going to give you the lowdown on why regular and diet sodas are not your best warm weather refreshers. But don’t worry, there are plenty of other cooling beverages that can quench your thirst without damaging your teeth or compromising your oral hygiene.
The Impacts of Regular Soda
Regular soda contains sugar, which combines with bacteria in your mouth to form acid. The acid doesn’t play nice in the sandbox that is your mouth; it attacks your teeth and can cause tooth decay. Here’s a glimpse behind the scenes of sipping soda:
- Every time you take a sip of soda, the acid attack lasts for approximately 20 minutes.
- This process is repeated with every sip of soda that you take; it’s not just the serving size you have to consider, you also have to be aware of how frequently you’re sipping.
- Every time the acid attacks, it weakens your tooth enamel. This can be particularly damaging in kids and teens because their enamel is not yet fully developed.
- Because soda can contain sugar AND caffeine, it actually speeds up dehydration. As a result, you may end up consuming more soda to account for your thirst, which can be very detrimental in the long-term.
The Impacts of Diet Soda & “Sugar-Free” Drinks
Urban legend suggests that diet soda is better for your teeth than regular soda because it often lacks the culprit ingredient: sugar. This, however, is not necessarily the case. In fact, sugar-free drinks have the potential to cause the same amount of erosion as regular soda. Why? Acidity.
- The lower the pH of a liquid, the higher the risk for tooth erosion. This doesn’t just apply to diet sodas, but also beverages like juices, sports drinks and energy drinks.
- These drinks also contain phosphoric acid, just like regular soda.
- Citric acid and tartaric acid can be found in these beverages, which also weaken tooth enamel and can cause decay over time.
One factor to consider is to hold off on brushing your teeth after consuming a soda or sugar-free drink for about 30 minutes – it takes about this long for the saliva to bless your mouth with a neutral pH.
Moreover, make sure that you drink soda, diet soda & “sugar-free” drinks in moderation (like, one can per day or much less) and that you use a straw to keep the sugar from having direct contact with your teeth. Always drink plenty of water and make sure to swish it around in your mouth so that you take some measure to dilute the acid and sugar in there if/when brushing your teeth isn’t possible. This doesn’t mean that you won’t endure the effects of these beverages; it just means that you’ll exercise some precautions that can minimize the damage.
What drinks can you opt for instead of soda & sugar-free drinks?
Simply put: teeth-friendly liquids!
- Water is your best bet when it comes to both quenching your thirst, refreshing your body & providing you with the hydration that you need during the hot summer months.
- Additional drinks to consider include: unsweetened teas, milk, plain sparkling water, and diluted juices. Most of these alternatives contain little to no sugar.
Keep your mouth happy! It’s the only one you’ve got and you know you need it.