Every time you eat or drink, you create an environment in your mouth that is favorable to oral bacteria. If not held in check by regular brushing, flossing, and dentist office visits, such bacteria can lead to tooth decay. Different foods can have different effects on your teeth. The leading cause of tooth decay comes from sugary, i.e., carbonated soft drinks. Half of the people in this country have at least one soft drink a day, usually more. Soft drinks are the leading contributor of sugar to most people’s diets.
The average carbonated soft drink can contain up to ten teaspoons of sugar. When plaque, a thin layer of bacteria that forms on your teeth, comes into contact with sugar it produces an acid that can eat away at teeth and cause tooth decay. When the enamel of your teeth gets softer, cavities can develop. In the absence of a proper oral hygiene routine, the damage that soft drinks can do to teeth can even result in tooth loss.
In addition to the damage that the sugar can cause, soft drinks can contain phosphoric and citric acids, which can eat away at the enamel of your teeth. On average, the acidity of a soft drink can be only slightly less than battery acid. While battery acid has a pH of 1.0, Coca Cola and other sodas are not far away with a pH close to 2.4.
Despite their name, soft drinks can be really hard on your teeth. Drinking through a straw and making sure to rinse your mouth out with water after drinking a soft drink can help cut back on the amount that comes into contact with your teeth, but it’s best to cut back on the amount you consume in general to protect your oral health.
Not only can soft drinks affect your teeth, but alcohol can also give you dental problems. Saliva helps fight bacteria. Alcohol decreases the amount of natural saliva, which irritates all the soft tissue in your mouth, which could then lead to gum disease. Alcohol can be erosive to your gums, cheeks, and skin, which increase the chance of getting mouth and throat cancer. With the erosion, you will begin to lose your teeth because the gums cannot support your teeth.
You do not have to completely eliminate soft drinks from your diet, but you should try to drink less, replacing them with more water or milk. That, and a proper oral hygiene routine, can help ensure a healthy smile.