30 Oct Are fizzy drinks bad for your teeth?
Posted by: Jodie Blades Dental Nurse NVQ Level 3
Medically reviewed by: Dr Farnoosh Mimeh BDS MFDS RCS (Eng)
When your tooth enamel is softened, it makes your brushing even harder on your teeth. Eventually, you can actually brush your enamel away.
Are fizzy drinks bad for your teeth?
Fizzy pop, soda, pop, soda pop, soft drinks… call it what you will, it is all the same when it comes to its effect on your teeth. You may be thinking that your teeth feel fine and healthy, but these sugar-laden and sugar free drinks cause damage quite slowly – you may not notice it yourself for years.
How exactly are these fizzy drinks bad for your teeth?
They Soften Your Enamel
Sugary sodas have not only served up a large portion of the nation’s obesity problems, but the acidic sugar byproducts and acid reactions soften your tooth enamel, which contributes to more cavities. Dr Farnoosh Mimeh adds, “When your tooth enamel is softened, it makes your brushing even harder on your teeth. Eventually, you can actually brush your enamel away.”
When you drink a fizzy drink, the naturally occurring bacteria in your mouth react to it- resulting in an outbreak of acid, which takes your saliva about 20 minutes to neutralise. If you sip your drink every 20 minutes the acid will continue to damage your teeth the entire time.
What about sugar-free drinks and carbonated water? Well, they’re less harmful, but sugar-free sodas also are acidic and can erode your enamel in the same way. Every time you take a sip of soda, the bacteria in your mouth start reacting to it causing an acid attack until the pH balance of your mouth is neutralised. Unfortunately all carbonated drinks are bad for your teeth.
Fizzy Drinks Lead to decay
Soft drinks can also lead to cavities. Prolonged consumption, coupled with poor oral hygiene can erode through the tough enamel of your teeth to the softer under layer, called dentin. Damage at this level is perfect for creating cavities, plus soda can even damage your fillings, if you already have them.
The sugars in fizzy drinks (and subsequent acid attacks) are bad for your teeth. But, you can help reduce the damage done by practicing good oral hygiene.
Limit Damage While Drinking
We aren’t saying you should cut our fizzy drinks all together, where’s the fun in that?! (Even dentists are partial to an ice cold glass of cola in the summer time!) Fortunately, you can limit the damage these drinks cause.
Using a (paper!) straw is a simple trick. Doing this helps keep the sugars away from your teeth and can limit contact. You also will want to drink your soda quickly. This gives sugars and acids less time to react and erode your teeth.
Try also, to keep your fizzy drinks at meal times. This will reduce the number of sugar-hits on your teeth per day and help to reduce the risk of enamel erosion.
Finally, rinse your mouth with water afterward, if you can. This washes away any acid attacking your teeth, helps your saliva to reform its protective barrier and ends the reaction from sugar.
Keep in mind that you should not brush your teeth immediately after drinking something sugary. Your teeth are super vulnerable in this state and brushing them damages your enamel.
What Else Can You Do?
Here are some extra steps you can take to avoid tooth decay from sugary drinks.
- Reduce the amount of sugar you drink
- Find substitutes you enjoy that are more healthy
- Don’t forget to schedule regular dental checkups
- Drink more water, it will help take away your cravings for soda
- Use fluoride toothpastes and/or mouth rinses
So, are fizzy drinks Really Bad for Your Teeth?
Yes! They are damaging and erodes your enamel. Try drinking alternatives & practicing good oral hygiene after drinking soda by rinsing your mouth with water or using a straw. Your teeth will thank you!
Related: 5 Reasons to see a dental hygienist
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