Healthy Smiles, Happier Families

Could Soft Drinks Be Affecting Tooth Enamel Loss?

Is Your Favorite Soda Affecting Tooth Enamel Loss?

soda-and-teethOn a hot summer day, an ice cold Coke can be just the thing, but you may want to think twice about guzzling it, no matter how enticing it may seem.

Did you know that soda and other high acid drinks can permanently damage your teeth and can be even more devastating on the dental health of your kids? It’s true.

At our Mercer Island office, we help restore smiles that have been damaged.

It’s not just your favorite fizzy drink that can do your teeth in, but also fruit juice and sports beverages. If the drink is high in acid, your teeth are at risk.

From the first sip, within less than a minute, permanent damage can be done to your enamel. The risks are even higher for kids because many adolescents grind their teeth at night and may also have undiagnosed acid reflux which can compound the damage done.

Brushing Doesn’t Restore Enamel Damage Sodas

In his study out of Australia, Dr. Sarbin Ranjitkar found that, “If high acidity drinks are consumed, it is not simply a matter of having a child clean their teeth an hour or 30 minutes later and hoping they’ll be okay. But the damage is already done.” Many of us allow our kids to indulge in the occasional soda and some even give our kids free reign with the pop bottle, but this can be the worst thing for their teeth.

Rantjitkar added, “Such erosion [as a child] can lead to a lifetime of compromised dental health that may require complex and extensive rehabilitation, but it is also preventable with minimal intervention.”

Because the enamel is soft after consuming soda or high acid drinks, if you brush immediately after drinking, the act of brushing your teeth can actually do more damage to your teeth. As it stands, kids are drinking more soda than ever so this is a growing health problem that needs our attention now.

tooth enamel anatomy and how soda could affect tooth enamel lossHow Do High Acid Drinks Damage Kids’ Teeth?

70% of boys aged two to 19 drink sugary drinks like soda and 60% of girls. We naturally have bacteria in our mouths which can harm our teeth and kids’ teeth and when it’s been hours between brushing, the sugar in soda feeds this bacteria which then produces acid. This combines with the acid already present in the soda, sports drink or juice and dissolves the outer surface of the tooth enamel.

When the outer surface is dissolved this exposes the inner layers of the tooth which can cause sensitivity and pain. This can cause dental caries (i.e. infections or cavities) which are holes in the teeth that can demineralize your teeth and destroy the hard tissues of the teeth including enamel, dentin and cementum. These are serious dental health issues that will need extensive treatment.

How To Reduce Risk of Tooth Enamel Decay

The best approach is to avoid tooth decay altogether because it can lead to health issues beyond the mouth if left unchecked and can require extensive (and expensive) dental treatment to correct. Here are five tips to help you reduce the risk of tooth decay for you and your kids:

  • Eliminate soft drinks from your diet if possible. If not, cut back as much as you can.
  • Drink fluoridated water (i.e. tap water) after a soda to dilute the sugar in your mouth.
  • Use a straw when drinking sugary drinks to minimize the fluid’s contact with your teeth.
  • Never give your kids soda or juice as a bedtime drink (and don’t do this yourself).
  • Wait one hour after drinking sugary or acidic drinks before brushing to let enamel reharden.

Contact us today for an appointment with Dr. Brad Judy for yourself or your children. Our office is located near Mercerdale Park on Mercer Island. We are open Monday through Thursday and accept most major dental insurance plans. Call us at (206) 232-5866 to schedule a consultation or get answers to any questions.

Brad Judy