The soft drink has many names in the United States. On the East and West coasts, they call it soda. In the Midwest, many people refer to it as pop. And in the South, it’s often called Coke (even if it’s Pepsi). But no matter what you call a soft drink’s sugary concoction, it’s a recipe for disaster for your oral health.
Why? Because a soft drink is full of acids and sugar byproducts that are acidic. The combination softens your tooth enamel, which is the first step on the road to a cavity. While sugar-free soft drinks are slighty less impactful on your oral health, they are still acidic and can negatively affect your teeth.
Soft drink consumption in the United States has been declining for many years, but Americans still consume an average of 400 12-ounce servings per person per year. That’s 3,200 teaspoons of sugar ingested annually! Long-term consumption of soft drinks over many years increases the odds that you’ll suffer tooth decay problems at some point.
The consumption of all that sugar and the acid in soft drinks is especially damaging to the oral health of children and teenagers, whose teeth are still in the formative stages.
So what should you do to reduce the impact on your oral health and protect your children’s developing teeth? Here are some ideas to implement in your household:
Try different drinks: Skip the soft drinks and fill your fridge with beverages low in sugar and acid. These include water, milk and pure fruit juice. Unsugared ice tea is another good option to avoid sugar.
Rinse, rinse, rinse: Be sure to reach for a glass of water if you do consume a soft drink. It’s a great way to flush all the sugar and acids deposited in your mouth by the soft drink you just drank.
Grab the fluoride: Fluoride strengthens the enamel on your teeth and lowers the risk of cavities. So be sure to brush twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and for an extra dose of fluoride, rinse with a mouthwash that contains fluoride.
Get professional help: Be sure to visit your dentist twice a year for a dental hygiene visit to get all the gunk off your teeth that built up over the last six months. You can also request a fluoride treatment during your visit.
While soft drinks are tough on your teeth, you can reduce their impact on your oral health by following our four tips.