Why Cutting Down on Soda Can Help You Avoid Permanent Teeth Damage
- August 26, 2013
- 4 mins read
While many weight watchers might regard diet soda as a great alternative to their favorite fizzy drink, they might be putting their teeth in unwanted trouble. There has been a steady increase in the number of patients experiencing erosion of the tooth enamel, as reported by Kim McFarland, D.D.S., an associate professor at the University of Nebraska’s Medical Center College of Dentistry.
The main concern is that once the teeth starts to erode, the process can no longer be reversed. People with eroded tooth enamel are bound to suffer the effects of the condition throughout their lives. According to Dr. McFarland, the prevalence has certainly increased since 25 years ago and links the said phenomenon to the fact that more young people are regularly drinking huge amounts of soda, which is triggering teeth sensitivity.
Other triggers such as other hot and cold drinks, as well as cold air, can cause pain upon reaching the nerves inside a tooth. The erosion process can accelerate depending on how often and how many fizzy drinks people consume in a day. The numbers are startling, as according to the National Soft Drink Association, the average American individual drinks an estimated 44 gallons of soda annually. That is more or less ⅕ of the required amount of water we need to drink every year.
Sodas and colas are high in phosphoric and citric acid, which alters the mouth’s pH balance and causes teeth to erode over time. Dr. McFarland even said that tooth erosion is more harmful than regular cavities because it can also affect a tooth’s sensitivity. A decayed tooth can be repaired by scraping the plaque and covering what’s left with a filling, but there’s not much a dentist can do with sensitive teeth.
A person with sensitive teeth is bound to experience a lifetime of problems, where they have no choice but to limit their eating and drinking to the the kinds of foods that would not aggravate their present dental condition. The only viable solution that Dr. McFarland can see is to crown all of the teeth, which is very expensive and is quite an extreme solution.
Every time they consume a hot or a cold food or beverage, there is an accompanying pain that is so uncomfortable, and at certain times, debilitating. Some of Dr. McFarland’s patients have shared how they could not open their mouths when going outside during winter because the cold breeze causes pain in their teeth.
There are even a number of related scientific studies that link soda consumption and the appearance of enamel erosion and cavities. Despite the significant amount of evidence that shows how destructive soda can be to those who drink it, many people continue to take it because of its addictive taste.
If you’re a regular soda drinker, here are some tips that you may want to follow:
- Limit soda intake to at least three times a day, during meal time only.
- Do not substitute soda for water. Always remember that your intake of soda is not equivalent to your recommended daily intake of water.
- Although it would be essential to brush your teeth after a meal as toothpaste helps remineralize those areas that the acid from soda, it is better to wait for at least half an hour before brushing. Why? Brushing can actually push the acid deeper into the enamel and cause more harm than good.
- Chew sugar-free gum, particularly ones that contain Xylitol.
- Sip beverages quickly; don’t allow the drink to linger in your mouth so that the acid can go directly to your stomach.
- Avoid eating food with high sugar and acid content before sleeping because that’s the time when saliva production is decreased.
- Use a straw for drinks than just sipping it from a glass or a container.
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