Eating and drinking habits change all the time and within the last decade, there has been a prevalence of soda drinking. Years ago, buying a soda was rare on a day-to-day basis and most soda was only consumed at special events such as parties or celebrations. Today, it is not uncommon for soda to be consumed at every meal or three to four times a day.
Not only has soda consumption increased, but also the size of the sodas is increasing, too. At the beginning of soda’s popularity, standard bottle sizes were 6.5 ounces; now you can buy bottles of 10, 12, 16 and 26 ounces.
It’s no secret that there is a strong link between soda consumption and tooth decay. “Sip all day, get decay” is not just a catchy phrase, it is literally the truth. There are high amounts of sugar found in sodas, and the bacteria in the mouth combines with the sugar. Just like humans, bacteria consume food and excrete wastes. When bacteria eat sugar, they secrete an acid that is detrimental to tooth enamel.
Let’s look at how much sugar is in soda. There are 40 grams of sugar in a regular, 12-ounce can of soda. This is not a big number, but let’s put it into perspective. Almost any sugar packet that you open and put in your coffee or hot tea is four grams. So, imagine pouring ten packets of sugar into your drink to make it the equivalent of a 12-ounce can of soda.
The acid attacks that occur as a result of sugary drinks combining with bacteria will cause breakdown of tooth enamel for 20 minutes until the body can neutralize the saliva in the mouth again. Every sip of soda you drink causes 20 minutes of decay. One can quickly understand the importance of not sipping soda throughout the day and causing a constant acidic environment for teeth to be bathed in daily.
If you must have soda, drink it primarily during meals or all at once between meals. Another tip is to drink soda through a straw in order to have less contact with teeth before swallowing.
Although it is important to limit soda, you don’t have to cut out all soda consumption. Some sodas are worse than others. Since bacteria feed on sugar, choose a soda that is diet or sugar free. The least damaging soda to the teeth is root beer, because it’s not carbonated and does not contain phosphoric or citric acids that harm the teeth.
Don’t fear drinking soda every once in a while, but be conscious of the effects it has on the teeth and be sure to brush frequently if soda is a daily part of your life.