Everyone likes a cola now and then, most people, a little more often. Some people go a day without a soda. As delicious as they come, there is sadly a horrible side effect that should not be ignored.
How Soda Pop Affects Your Teeth
First off, when hot or cold drink comes in contact with the teeth, it irks the tooth nerve, and before long, sensitivity becomes increased. Sensitive causes some level of discomfort when the patient tries to take hot or cold food. Some cannot even open their mouths in the cold during winter. Sadly, there is no cure for teeth sensitivity. Imagine going through the rest of your life with tooth sensitivity! While there are people living with it, you really don’t want to be one of them. Preventive dental care is the best thing you can do for your teeth no matter your age.
It’s The Chemicals Not The Sugar
How does this all this happen? Well, while the sugar in soda pop does not help, the preservatives and the acids contained in the soda are the major culprits. Soda contains citric and phosphate acids. It is a well-known fact that acids weaken and subsequently erode tooth enamel. They do this by reducing the alkalinity (PH) of the saliva. When this happens, bacteria increase on the surface of the teeth. The teeth have the dentin and the pulp outwardly covered by the enamel and like all surfaces, it can wear out over time. Saliva being high in alkalinity lowers the acidity plaque from food or drink that is left on teeth.
Weaker Enamel = Weaker Defenses
As the enamel gets weaker, the layer of bacteria on the teeth begins to have access to the inner teeth layers. This is what causes cavities. It is even worse with sodas that contain a high quantity of sugar. The enamel first gets weakened and then the sugar gains easy access to the teeth. Much worse are the very popular diet sodas. People who take diet sodas will on the long run have weakened enamels and less white teeth. Dentin being yellow begins to give the teeth its colour. Some teeth might even begin to develop translucent as the dentin begins to show itself through the enamel that is slowly eroding. Even the chewing surface of the teeth can become uneven, dented or even rounded. Such people also feel more discomfort in terms of pain and tingling particularly when taking liquids that are hot or cold.
Cola drinks are the real culprits but this does not let other sodas off the hook. They are also acidic, just not as acidic as colas. So, switching to a non- cola drink is not the solution to the problem. You definitely want to think about completely stopping your soda intake but if you cannot, then reduce the intake as much as you can and take the following preventive dental care measures.
Drinking through a straw will help reduce the contact the drink has with your teeth. Avoid swishing the soda pop from cheek to cheek. Also, try to drink up your sodas as quickly as you can. When you spend an hour or more on your drink, your mouth is simply being bathed in acid. When finished with the soda, drink some water or better yet, rinse out your mouth. You can also chew some sugarless gum to neutralize the acidity and raise or increase your mouth’s PH. Try as much as possible not to brush your mouth for at least 30 minutes after having a soda. This further weakens the enamel and could cause more damage.
As in other cases, preventive dental care is the very best cure. Having teeth sensitive to temperature can be a really big problem and is certainly not something anyone wants to grow old with. Next time you put a coin in the vending machine, be sure to think before you drink.
Becca is an avid dental and health blogger. She’s currently working with Dentists R Us in Langley, BC to help educate the public about dental care and health.