Can your favorite soda cause dental damage on par with some medications?
Soda is so common in our society that most of us don’t stop to consider the consequences before having another drink. When it comes to the negative effects of methamphetamine or crack, most people know what they are. So it is probably a surprise that consuming soda in large quantities can be just as damaging to your teeth as these two illegal drugs.
Acid wears down enamel
Your mouth already has elements to protect itself from harmful substances. Enamel, or the shiny layer that lines the outside of your teeth, is a prime example of this. Enamel protects the softer inner material of your teeth from being damaged by food when you chew and your nerves from experiencing pain when eating extremely hot or cold food. Without enamel, your teeth are more prone to cavities.
While tooth enamel is even harder than our bones, that doesn’t mean it’s not susceptible to damage. Enamel is constantly in contact with food and drink, some of which promote decay. Acidic elements are the most damaging to tooth enamel, as they wear down and cause it to break down.
That’s why your lunchtime ritual of having a soda with your meal may taste good, but it’s not the best for your teeth. A recent case study published in General Dentistry looked at the teeth of a methamphetamine user, a former crack cocaine user, and a heavy soda drinker. Each of them had roughly the same degree of acid damage. Cocaine is naturally acidic, while methamphetamine is often made from acidic ingredients like battery acid or drain cleaner.
The person who drank soda consumed two liters a day for at least three years and did not maintain adequate dental health, so an occasional soda will not have the same effects, especially if he keeps up with his hygiene. However, these results are indicative of the destructive nature of the drink.
Protect your enamel so you can protect your teeth
The consumption of some acids is unavoidable, but you can better protect your enamel by limiting the consumption of soft drinks. When you drink soda, use a straw so it doesn’t come in contact with your teeth so much. Drink water regularly to rinse your mouth and chew sugar-free gum to stimulate saliva production. Saliva works to naturally restore normal acidity levels in the mouth.