We’ve discussed the effects of soda on your teeth before, but it’s always good to refresh your memory on how harmful soda is to your teeth. Yes, the sugar contained is harmful, but consuming diet drinks will not help. It’s the carbonic acid that is the enamel killer, and recent research has proven that this erosion is absolutely permanent.
Kim McFarland, DDS, associate professor at the University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Dentistry, has reported that she’s seen an increase in the number of dental patients with enamel erosion over the last 25 years.
“I’d see erosion once in a while 25 years ago, but I see much more prevalence nowadays,” Dr. McFarland said. “A lot of young people drink massive quantities of soda. It’s no surprise we’re seeing more sensitivity.”
Enamel erosion can cause tooth sensitivity, and the more the soda is consumed, the worse the erosion and sensitivity can become.
“Tooth sensitivity can become a lifetime problem, limiting things we like to drink and even food choices. You could crown all your teeth but that is costly and a rather extreme solution,” Dr. McFarland said. “It hurts to consume cold and hot foods and beverages. Some of my patients tell me when they go outside in the winter they don’t open their mouth or the cold air causes pain.”
Of course, we agree with Dr. McFarland that you shouldn’t drink soda at all, but we’re also realistic. We know our patients will drink soda, so here are a few tips for the soda drinkers to help prevent damaging enamel erosion.
- Only drink sodas with meals.
- In other words, don’t drink soda throughout your day. Drink water instead.
- Brush your teeth immediately after drinking soda.
- If you can’t brush your teeth afterward, rinse out your mouth with water.
- Chew sugar-free gum or gum containing Xylitol after drinking soda.
University of Nebraska Medical Center. “Think before you drink: Erosion of tooth enamel from soda pop is permanent.” Medical News Today. MediLexicon, Intl., 24 Jul. 2013. Web. 28 Jul. 2013.