As more and more studies are done, the real effects of sodas on the human body are understood. We already know that there is a link between drinking soda and type 2 diabetes, obesity, and osteoporosis. And with little surprise, soda does a real number on your teeth too.
It all boils down to bacteria. The natural bacteria that is already present in your mouth, if uncontrolled, can grow and lead to various diseases of the oral cavity. Most commonly, these can include cavities. These bacteria need two things to grow out of control: sugar and an acidic environment. Soda gives them both!!!
The incredible amount of sugar that is in every serving of any soft drink, gives the oral bacteria their food. These bacteria use this substrate to grow and divide, and as a by-product produce lactic acid, which breaks down tooth surfaces – leading to cavities.
Now, not only do these bacteria produce acid, they are the most efficient when they are in an acidic environment. Enter soda’s second gift – acidity. For comparison, consider this:
Coca Cola: pH = 2.52
Water: pH = 7.0
*The pH scale ranges from 1-14, with 1 being the most acidic, 14 being the most basic, and 7 being neutral.
But who doesn’t love a burger and fries, with a tall, cold, fresh, fizzy, refreshing coke?
It’s understandable, soda is amazing. That’s why Coca Cola is one of the biggest companies on the planet. So here is the secret to enjoy soft drinks and still keep your beautiful smile:
Moderation – like everything else in life, moderation is key! Set limits for yourself. Don’t have soda every day, limit it to once or twice a week.
Use a straw – using a straw can decrease the contact the soda has with your teeth!
Drink it quickly – it’s not the amount of sugar or acid you consume, it’s how long those substances are in contact with your mouth. The faster you drink your soda, the less time the sugars and acids have to break down your teeth. A big no no is drinking soda before bedtime – the sugars and acids will have a whole night to do their job.
Rinse with water after drinking soda – rinsing with water helps flush away any remaining sugars from your mouth, and help neutralize the acidity.
Don’t brush right away! – this sounds counterintuitive but it’s true. Brushing right after your teeth have been attacked by sugars and acids can actually be more harmful. The friction of the bristles can be harmful and can cause sugars to enter the tiny crevices of teeth. Instead wait 30-60 minutes before you brush.