When you live in Georgia, it can be hard to ignore those great advertisements tempting you to purchase Coca-Cola. After all, Georgia is the Coca-Cola state. It’s only natural that you want to relax with a cold bottle of Coca-Cola at the end of the day. Unfortunately, soda in general isn’t all that good for our teeth. Damage to your teeth from drinking soda is a thing—and a big thing at that.
Is it soda or pop, and does it matter when it comes to tooth decay caused by drinking soda?
We want to have a bit of fun with this blog article, so we’ll just call out that soda is bad for your teeth. But before we get into precisely what soda can do to your teeth, how to enjoy your soda safely, and the importance of regular dental checkups, let’s talk about this whole soda vs. pop controversy. Which one should it be? Soda or pop? Or is it just a soft drink?
As it happens, soda is the most common term for those who live in the northeast, the state of Florida, California, and various pockets of communities throughout the midwest, especially in Milwaukee and St. Louis. However, pop is what most call it in the midwest and west. To make things even more complicated, in the south, people refer to any caramel-colored soft drink as Coca-Cola, even if it is Pepsi or another competitive soft drink.
Maybe the best way to get everyone to say the same thing is to call any carbonated beverage a soft drink. Over 5% of Americans, especially those in Louisiana and North Carolina, use the term soft drink. Whatever it is that you might call it, one thing is true—it seems that the pop vs. soda controversy will stand the test of time and will be a frequent discussion at kitchen tables and in bars for generations to come.
What soda can do to your teeth.
Whether you call it soda or pop, soda is not good for your teeth. In the fight between the soft drink and our teeth, unfortunately, our teeth lose every time. However, you may be surprised to learn that it isn’t just the sugar that’s the problem. Instead, it is the bacteria in your mouth that feeds on the sugar and creates acid. And soda itself is very acidic, so this combination of acid upon acid erodes the enamel that protects your teeth. To make matters worse, it’s not like you just take a sip of that tasty soda, swallow it down, and your teeth are safe again. Every time you take a swig of that drink, the acid attack lasts about 20 minutes.
Think about a fight that goes on for 20 minutes and how much damage that can do. When it comes to your teeth, they don’t stand much of a fighting chance, especially if you don’t take steps to protect your teeth from the acids in your mouth from drinking soda.
How to safely enjoy your soda.
If you love your soda and don’t want to stop drinking it, don’t worry, the team at Allred Family Dentistry won’t ask you to. But, we will strongly encourage you to consider brands that are sweetened with stevia instead of sugar. Stevia is non-carcinogenic and can also help you in your fight against cavities.
Though you don’t necessarily need to stop drinking soda, it is wise to cut back on your consumption, especially if you are sticking to brands sweetened with sugar and not stevia. As a rule of thumb, try to avoid consuming more than the equivalent of one 12-ounce can of soda per day. This helps your teeth as well as your skin and makes it easier for you to sleep at night. Be sure to also follow these recommendations.
- Don’t let the soda linger in your mouth, and don’t nurse your drink either, as you might do with an alcoholic beverage. The longer it takes you to drink your soft drink, the more time that acid has to do its damage.
- If you can’t brush your teeth after drinking a soda, try to rinse your mouth with water, or better yet, follow-up your 12 ounces of soda with the equivalent amount of water. Not only will this help rehydrate you, but it will help rinse it down your throat and away from your teeth.
- Be sure to brush your teeth twice a day and floss at least once a day, in addition to swishing with a fluoridated mouthwash. This will help rid your teeth and mouth of hazardous bacteria that can lead to periodontal disease. As we mentioned earlier, bacteria eat the sugar and then excrete acids that wear away at our tooth enamel. This can lead to tooth decay and can also cause inflammation that can lead to gum disease if not kept under control.
Regular dental checkups can help prevent soda teeth damage.
Besides following the suggestions we provided earlier, it is crucial to make a dentist trip twice a year. A regular checkup will help prevent plaque, tartar, cavities, and tooth decay. These routine visits keep potential gum disease under control; help detect the risk factors, signs, and symptoms for oral cancer; and help detect other systemic issues.
During your dental checkup, the Allred Family Dentistry team can answer commonly asked questions about teeth whitening and advise on what to expect at your teeth whitening appointment should you have soda teeth stains that you want corrected.
Don’t forget to schedule your next appointment at Allred Family Dentistry.
Whether you are experiencing problems with your teeth from drinking soda, tooth stains caused by soft drinks, want to understand better what you need to know about your dental health and soft drinks, or need to book your next dental appointment in Griffin or Hampton, GA, we would love to see you. Simply request an appointment using our convenient online form, or give our office a call. We can answer all of your questions and help assess your oral health so that you can enjoy your soda/pop while protecting your teeth.