Most people know that soft drinks contain a lot of sugar. Prior studies have linked consumption of regular pop and its high levels of sugar with multiple risk factors for heart disease. Ten percent of teenage boys drink seven or more cans of soda daily and 10 % of teenage girls drink five or more cans of soda daily. This means the average teenage girl and boy will consume roughly 10-15 teaspoons of refined sugar daily, respectively.
While you know that high consumption of sugars is bad for your overall health, you may not know sugar in soft drinks isn’t the immediate threat to your teeth. It’s the acid. Most soft drinks contain the following three types of acid:
1. Citric- Found in citrus fruits, this acid is used largely to give soft drinks flavor.
2. Phosphoric-Another acid used for adding a “tangy” taste to soft drinks. Also widely used for rust removal.
3. Carbonic-This acid gives soft drinks their fizz.
When exploring the pH (potential Hydrogen) levels in soft drinks, it becomes painfully obvious soft drinks are very acidic. The pH scale starts at 0-extremely acidic to 14-alkaline. Clean, filtered water has a pH balance of 7 which is neutral. Anything from 0 through, and including 6, is considered acidic. To put the acidity level of soft drinks into perspective consider this; battery acid has a pH level of zero. Soft drinks can range from a high 2 up to 4. A pH lower than 3 has been linked to giving people brain damage.
How Does This Level of Acidity Threaten My Teeth?
Your teeth are robbed of vital calcium when you drink soft drinks. In order for your body to neutralize the acid it’s consuming, it turns bone calcium into alkaline. The calcium that creates the enamel on your teeth becomes weakened, eventually eroding leaving your teeth vulnerable to continued attacks which cause cavities and worse. If you’re a regular drinker of soft drinks you will also be more prone to fracturing or breaking bones in addition to osteoporosis.
How Can I Protect my Teeth if I Drink Soft Drinks?
Remember, brushing, flossing, and swishing are part of a good oral hygiene routine. This is especially true if you drink soft drinks. Try the following preventative care tips to protect your teeth against the harmful effects of soft drinks:
• Brush your teeth a minimum of twice a day. If you get the chance, brush right after drinking a soft drink.
• If you’re not able to brush your teeth after consuming a soft drink, try rinsing your mouth with water to remove as much acid and sugar from your teeth as possible.
• Keep Fluorinated. Use a mouth wash and toothpaste containing fluoride. Fluoride helps to strengthen tooth enamel.
• Drinking more water and milk will improve more than just your oral health. Drinking the recommended 8-12 glasses of water a day has shown to improve energy levels. Drinking the suggested amount of milk (3-4 glasses for adults) not only strengthens bones but can assist in weight reduction. If you can’t drink milk, salmon is another great source of calcium.
• If you’re a parent or teacher, lead by example. Keep healthier options available at home or consume healthy choices in front of impressionable students. Encourage healthier choices early and often.
By making healthier choices like reducing or quitting soft drink consumption, together with proper dental care, you will greatly improve your chances of combating cavities and having a healthy mouth.
Robison Dental Group, provides unsurpassed dental service in Mesa, AZ. We are a family-oriented, private dental practice with a soothing atmosphere. Convenient hours and location, catering to all ages! Call 480-924-2300 or visit our website @ http://www.drrobison.com/general-dental-services/ for an appointment today!