Bursting the Bubble
The popularity of soft drinks increases year after year, due in part to their sweet taste, and in part to the aggressive advertising campaigns run by soda companies. The amount of soda consumed by the average American every year is staggering – over 50 gallons per person.
Soft drinks are a danger to oral health due to the high amounts of sugar and acids. Because of their liquid nature, gulping down soft drinks is equivalent to bathing teeth in a solution of acids and sugar. Over time, even the relatively mild acids in soft drinks can eat away and weaken tooth enamel, making teeth more susceptible to decay and damage.
Another indirect effect of soda consumption is the reduced consumption of other, healthier drinks. The reduced consumption of milk has led to a deficiency in the intake of important vitamins and minerals. Calcium, in particular, is important to the maintenance of strong teeth and bones. Without a sufficient supply of calcium, the body cannot properly maintain the integrity of teeth – combined with the damaging effects of the sugar and acid in popular soft drinks, and it is easy to see why dentists are concerned.
Lowering or eliminating soft drink consumption entirely is not a very likely solution. Sodas are so prevalent in the American diet that elimination is simply unrealistic. Therefore, if you are concerned about the effect of soft drinks on your oral health, consider the following steps.
First, take a good look at your brushing and flossing habits. These are vital if you are to counteract the negaive effects of soft drinks.
Second, try to reduce your soft drink consumption as much as possible, and replace it with beneficial liquids such as milk or fluoridated water.
Third, if you must drink sodas, use a straw when possible, to minimize contact with your teeth.
A timely visit to the dentist is always a key factor in maintaining good oral and dental health.