While it’s no secret that pop can be a significant cause of tooth decay, a recent study has shown that for those addicted to pop, the results can be much worse on oral health than maybe most people realize. The findings, published in the March/April 2013 issue of General Dentistry, the peer-reviewed clinical journal of the Academy of General Dentistry, has stated that “drinking large quantities of your favorite carbonated soda could be as damaging to your teeth as methamphetamine and crack cocaine use.”
“The striking similarities found in this study should be a wake-up call to consumers who think that soda—even diet soda—is not harmful to their oral health,” says Dr. Bassiouny, DMD, MSc, PhD, lead author of the study.
How Exactly Does Consuming Pop Contribute to Tooth Decay?
Pop is full of acid and sugar and contains high levels of phosphoric and citric acids. These ingredients contribute to softening tooth enamel. Tooth enamel helps protect our teeth from daily use such as chewing, biting, crunching, and grinding.
When teeth soften and tooth enamel is worn away, this plays a factor in weakening the strength of the protective shield around teeth. Without this shield, teeth are more likely to become sensitive, develop cracks or cavities, or become discolored. In extreme cases, softer enamel combined with improper brushing can lead to tooth loss.
It’s also important to remember that once enamel is damaged, it’s damaged for good as it has no living cells and cannot repair itself.
What about sugar free or diet pop?
While lacking the sugar, whether it be regular or diet pop the citric acid present in both is known to have a high potential for causing tooth erosion.
What Can you Do?
Children, teens and adults can all benefit from reducing the amount of pop that they consume. If you are going to drink soda, rinse your mouth with water after drinking or chew some sugar-free gum with xylitol, which stimulates saliva. Another suggestion is to drink pop through a straw which will help prevent the pop from touching the front of your teeth. Also wait at least 20 minutes after consuming pop to brush your teeth. Brushing too soon can push the acid deeper into the enamel and the dentin.
Substitute different drinks: Choose beverages containing less sugar and acid such as water, milk and 100 percent fruit juice. Drink them yourself and encourage your kids to do the same.
Use fluoride toothpaste: Fluoride is known to prevent tooth decay and strengthens tooth enamel, so brush with a fluoride-containing toothpaste. Rinsing with a fluoride mouthwash also can help. Ask your Burnaby dentist to recommend an over-the-counter mouthwash.
Get professionally applied fluoride treatment: Your dental hygienist can apply fluoride in the form of a foam, gel or rinse. Talk to your dentist about daily fluoride treatments if you have a history of cavities.
If you have concerns about teeth and the effects of drinking pop, talk to your North Burnaby Dentist for additional tips, treatments and preventative measures you can take.