MOST OF US LOVE an ice-cold can of soda, but the delicious taste and that tingly fizz sensation might not be worth what it does to our teeth. Braces only compound the issue.
What’s In That Drink?
You probably already know that soda is chock full of sugar, but did you know that it’s also highly acidic? For reference, stomach acid, one of the strongest acids, has a pH of 1.5, whereas water is neutral at a pH of 7. Soda ranges in acidity from RC Cola with a pH of 2.387 to Mug root beer with a pH of 4.038. The strong acidity from citric and phosphoric acids is actually the reason for all the sugar—without it, soda would be too sour to drink!
Effects on Teeth
The sugar and acid in soda launch a two-pronged attack on your oral health. Sugar is bacteria’s favorite food, so you’re giving the bacteria in your mouth a feast when you drink anything full of sugar, which allows them to reproduce faster. You’ll end up with bad breath and a higher risk of cavities as a result.
As for the acid, the protective enamel coating your teeth is vulnerable from the first swig. Even the least acidic sodas like root beer aren’t safe, because enamel begins to dissolve at a pH of 5.5.
You can see how the process works in this video:
Now Add Braces
Without braces, it’s not too difficult to clean away most of the residue from soda by sticking to the standard oral hygiene regimen of brushing twice a day and flossing once a day. With braces, there are countless additional tiny, hard-to-reach caverns where bacteria can flourish, feasting on the sugar left behind by soda and destroying your tooth enamel.
You may not even be aware of the damage until your braces come off and you find yourself with obvious white stains around where your brackets used to be. For the sake of your teeth (not to mention your overall health), it might be time to cut soda out of your diet.
If You Must…
Giving up soda can be hard, but there are a couple of ways to reduce its effects on your teeth if you can’t quit drinking it entirely.
Drink through a straw. When you use a straw, the soda has minimal contact with your teeth. It’s the same reason that drinking through a straw makes it easier to enjoy a cold drink if your teeth are sensitive to low temperatures.
Don’t just take little sips! The longer you take to drink something sugary and acidic, the longer your teeth are exposed to enamel-destroying substances.
Don’t have a soda by itself; drink it with a meal instead, and follow it up with a drink of water to rinse the soda off your teeth.
Take Care of Those Smiles!
We love our patients, and we want all of you to love your smiles when those braces come off. Don’t let fizzy drinks be your downfall! If you have any questions about the effects of soda on your teeth, please contact us. You can learn more about our practice from our business site, and make sure to check the map before you head our way.