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  1. Americans drink an astounding 7.5 billion gallons of soda every year. Half all Americans have a soda every day.

This is great news for the soft drink industry. Unfortunately, it is terrible news for your general health and the health of your teeth. So, really, why is soda bad for your teeth?

Keep reading to find out.

Anatomy of a Tooth

First, you need to understand the makeup of the tooth. It’s comprised of four components

Enamel

This substance covers the part of the tooth that you see in your mouth. This, believe it or not, is the hardest substance in the body. It’s also somewhat transparent.

The enamel represents your tooth’s first line of defense against an attack. Enamel handles biting pressure without a problem. Yet, once its fully formed, it can’t regrow any more.

If the enamel comes under attack, it can become porous. This results from minor demineralization that can damage the tooth.

Good news. Teeth can re-harden or remineralize, with proper nutrition and care. This can stop damage called tooth decay.

Dentin

The dentin makes up the layer below the enamel. Dentin isn’t as hard as enamel.

Dentin comprises a large part of the tooth. It contains microscopic tubes called dentinal tubules.  

There are different types of dentin:

  • Primary dentin makes up newly erupted teeth
  • Secondary dentin keeps forming throughout the life of your tooth.

Your strategic secret is that you have reparative dentin in your arsenal. This forms when there is swelling, irritation, or trauma to the tooth.

When decay gets through the enamel to the dentin, decay moves quickly through the tooth. This is why you must help enamel stand its ground.

Cementum

The root of the tooth is covered by cementum. This part of the tooth is very thin and softer than enamel. It’s about as hard as bone.

Bristles of a stiff toothbrush can damage the cementum. If your gums begin to shrink or receded, the cementum becomes exposed. This cementum becomes sensitive to hot and cold temperatures.

Pulp

The pulp contains the nerves and blood vessels that supply the tooth. This must be protected at all costs.

If decay invades the pulp, a bacterial infection can occur. You may need to undergo a root canal to save the tooth.

Anatomy of Soda

The smart warrior learns everything they can about their enemy. So, why do teeth need to worry about soda? It tastes great to the tongue.

Exactly who is the enemy? All sugar-sweetened beverages. It’s not only about soda anymore.

This means all drinks containing:

  • Brown sugar
  • Corn sweetener
  • Corn syrup
  • Dextrose
  • Fructose
  • High-fructose corn syrup
  • Honey
  • Lactose
  • Malt syrup
  • Maltose
  • Molasses
  • Raw sugar
  • Sucrose

Examples of sugar-sweetened drinks include:

  • Regular soda
  • Fruit drinks
  • Sports drinks
  • Energy drinks
  • Sweetened waters
  • Juice
  • Coffee
  • Sweet tea

There are so many enemies. What’s left to drink?

Why Is Soda Bad for Your Teeth?

When sugar enters your mouth, the battle for your teeth begins. With every sip, an acid attack begins that lasts 20 minutes. Wait, where did the acid come in?

Your mouth contains bacteria that eat the sugar in your mouth. The bacteria become energized by the sugar and produce acid. The acidic foods wear down your enamel’s defenses.

When your line of defense fails, decay and cavities form in your teeth causing cavities.

How Can You Win the Battle?

The ultimate plan to win this battle would be to stop drinking all sugary drinks. But, don’t panic. You can protect your teeth by decreasing the amount of sugar and acid they must battle.

Try making lower sugar choices:

  • Instead of soda, have water
  • Instead of an energy drink, have unsweetened tea
  • Instead of chocolate milk, have white milk
  • Instead of a smoothie, have a plain sparkling or sugar-free water
  • Instead of juice or fruit punch, have sugar-free or diluted juice

There are even more strategies to help you fight the battle:

  • Drink, don’t sip: sipping keeps the sugar in your mouth longer
  • Try to drink your beverage in one sitting instead of overtime (remember the 20-minute acid attack at every sip)
  • Fluoride fortification: drink tap water if your city water is fluoridated
  • Brush your teeth at least twice a day
  • Floss between your teeth at least once a day
  • Visit your dentist about every 6 months so they can clean off the plaque and check for decay

Understanding why is soda bad for your teeth allows you to identify the enemy’s plan of attack. Knowing how to recognize the sugar-sweetened drink enemies helps you select friendly allies in the fight for your teeth.

Establishing good habits at a young age is imperative. Help your children learn to like the taste of tap water and sugar-free waters or juices. Avoid artificial sweeteners, though, as they can pose other health risks.

Set a positive example in your family. Practice making healthy choices and routine dental care.

Oral hygiene is not just about having white teeth. Oral health impacts your total body health. This includes the risk of heart disease, infections, sepsis, nutrition, and even death.

Join with your dentist and dental hygienist in the fight for great dental health.

Are You Concerned About Your Dental Health?

Our office wants you to have the healthy smile of your dreams. We treat patients of all ages. You will find information about overbites and a variety of orthodontic options available.

If this article helped you learn why is soda bad for your teeth, continue checking out our site today. We want you to have a healthy, happy smile.