New Providence, NJ – If you’re thirsty, you might think there’s no harm in drinking a soda. The caffeine will wake you up, and you’ll enjoy the refreshingly sweet taste. You could opt for a sports drink instead, reinvigorating your lost nutrients. Did you know that you could be damaging your teeth? Sugar, acidic chemicals and food coloring cause dental erosion. Sodas and sports drinks are among some of the worst offenders.
Enemies of Enamel
Your teeth are coated with a natural enamel to protect them and help them last longer. Enamel is a barrier from cavities and tooth decay. According to a study published by the Academy of General Dentistry, non-cola soft drinks are more likely to erode the teeth than cola drinks. A separate dental study showed that colas are more acidic than sports drinks, but both types of beverages reduce the enamel layer and can cause poor dental health.
Soft drinks and sports beverages contain chemical-based acids that erode tooth enamel. Long-term exposure to acid results in a thinner and softer barrier, changing the texture and color of your teeth. This eventually results in nerve sensitivity and even cracked teeth. Sports drinks and sodas usually contain citric acid or phosphoric acid. Acid adds tanginess to balance out the sweetness of the sugars.
Another enemy of your teeth is sugar. Plaque that forms on your teeth turns to acid when it comes in contact with sugary substances in your mouth. It attacks your teeth for up to 20 minutes, which can eventually lead to tooth decay. The American Dental Association recommends limiting or eliminating sugary drinks from your diet to lower your risk.
Food coloring makes sports drinks and sodas more interesting. It’s a common marketing tool to make beverages more attractive. Darker colors stain your teeth more quickly than lighter ones. Avoid swishing colored drinks in your mouth to decrease the likelihood of stains. One way to minimize discoloration is to use a straw. Slip the top of the straw into your mouth between your upper and lower teeth.
Alternate Uses for Sodas
If you have sports and soft drinks that you’re no longer interested in drinking, you can put them to use in other ways.
• Auto technicians recommend soaking your car’s battery terminal bolts in a small cup of cola to remove caked on acid.
• Clean the scorch marks from the bottom of your uncoated kitchen pans by letting them soak in root beer or cola for 20 minutes.
• Set flowers such as white carnations in sports drinks to make them change colors.
Sodas and sports drinks can taste refreshing. They can also harm your teeth. Lessen the damage they do to your teeth by avoiding them when possible. Don’t drink them in between meals, and brush your teeth soon after you finish. Need more information or have questions on your dental health? Call Dr. John Corino at 908-645-0536 Today.