If you are like half the UK population, there is a good chance that you have had a sugary drink at least once today already and there’s a good chance that drink was a fizzy soft drink. Drinking a lot of high-sugar soft drinks is highly associated with type 2 diabetes, obesity and weight gain.
While these are negative effects on your body, fizzy drinks can also have negative effects on your smile as it could lead to potential cavities and could even lead to visible tooth decay.
Fizzy drinks contain large amounts of sugar and will, therefore, increase the risk of tooth decay. Both regular soft drinks and their diet alternatives contain acids that can erode the outer surface of the tooth.
When you drink fizzy drinks such as Coke, Sprite, Fanta or any energy drinks, the sugars in it interact with the bacteria in your mouth to form acid. This acid is what attacks your teeth and starts to form cavities and decay. Both regular fizzy drinks and ‘sugar-free’ soft drinks contain their own acids which both have their own way to attack your teeth. Sugar-free may be a slightly healthier version for you but it will still have similar effects on your teeth.
These sugar infested drinks cause damage to your teeth slowly but surely. You may think it is not there because you can’t notice it, but these drinks eat away at your enamel the more you drink it.
Fizzy Drinks Soften Your Enamel
Sugary soft drinks have not only taken accountability for many obesity and diabetes conditions but also take the cake for a number of the nation’s cavities. When you drink a fizzy drink, the naturally occurring bacteria in your mouth will react to it resulting in an outbreak of acid. It will take your saliva around 20 minutes to neutralise the acid. Therefore, if you sip your drink every 20 minutes, it means your teeth will continuously be under attack and will be getting damaged the entire time.
When your tooth enamel is softened, it means that brushing your teeth is even harder on your teeth. You may not notice it but the damage from soft drinks can mean your enamel can get so soft that you can eventually brush your enamel away.
What about sugar-free drinks and carbonated water?
Yes, carbonated water and sugar-free drinks are less harmful for your teeth, but they are still acidic and can erode your enamel all the same. There are some drinks that are better for your health than others, but unfortunately, all carbonated drinks are bad for your teeth. Every time you take a sip of a soft drink, the bacteria in your mouth will continue to react to it until the pH balance of your mouth is neutralised.
Fizzy Soft Drinks Lead to Tooth Decay
Soft drinks lead to both erosion of your teeth and cavities. Erosion begins when the acids in the drink encounter the outermost protective layer on your teeth which is the tooth enamel. The effect of these acids reduce the surface hardness of the enamel which is supposed to protect your teeth. The damage to your tooth enamel is what invites cavities to your teeth. These cavities or caries develop over time while you continue to drink fizzy drinks. These cavities will develop a lot faster if your oral hygiene routine is poor.
Limit the Damage of Soft Drinks
As dentists, we aren’t saying to cut out fizzy drinks altogether, we recommend everything in moderation. There are a few tricks you can do to limit the damage while you are drinking these fizzy, sugar filled drinks.
- Using a straw (paper of course) is a simple yet effective trick. Using a straw while you are drinking fizzy drinks keeps the sugars away from your teeth and limits the contact.
- Drinking your soft drinks quickly through a straw can also limit the time the acids in the drink have to stick to your teeth. The longer you take to finish your drink, the longer your drink has to wreak havoc on your oral health. Therefore, the faster you drink, the less time all the sugars and acids have to stick to and damage your teeth.
(Don’t use this as an excuse to drink even more soft drinks!)
- Try to always drink your soft drinks at meal times.
- Rinse your mouth with water after you are finished drinking. You can also do this with mouthwash. This will wash away any acids attacking your teeth. It also helps your saliva to reform its protective barrier and end the reaction from the sugar and acids attacking your teeth.
- Wait before you brush. Do not brush your teeth immediately after drinking something with high amounts of sugar or caffeine. You may think this will help reduce the damage to your teeth but at this stage your teeth are vulnerable and brushing them straight away will further damage your enamel. It is best to wait 30 to 60 minutes to brush your teeth.
- Get regular dental cleanings. Be sure to attend your routine dental appointments for regular cleanings, examinations and check-ups. Your dentist will be able to highlight and identify any problems before they are able to worsen.
- Drink in moderation. Having one soft drink a day will do enough damage as it is, try to limit it to just one daily.
Book an appointment with our dental hygienists now to find out more about how to keep your teeth and gums as healthy as possible. Find out more about our dental hygiene services.