We all know a healthy diet is important to maintaining overall health and well-being, but when it comes to your dental health, your diet plays an important role as well.
Avoiding sugary snacks and making sure to brush and floss every day is a good place to start, but what about the things you drink? Many people are not aware that sodas and fruit juices are a leading cause of tooth decay in adults.
Sodas Are An Acid Bath To Your Teeth
Let’s take closer look at sodas to understand exactly how they can damage your teeth and lead to cavities.
Sodas, even diet sodas are extremely acidic. Acids in foods and drinks cause damage to your tooth enamel- the hard protective exterior of the tooth structure. When you drink an acidic soda, fruit juice, flavored water or even sports drinks, the acid bathes your tooth surfaces. Normally, your saliva will wash away the acids and restore normal pH in the mouth, but when acidic drinks are consumed too frequently, or sipped on all day, there is no time between acid baths for your body to correct the pH. Frequent exposure to acids wears on your tooth enamel, causing acid erosion. Early symptoms may be excess sensitivity to cold or hot food. As enamel erosion progresses, sensitivity increases as more of the dentin (interior of the tooth) is exposed. As enamel softens and becomes more porous, pain can increase.
Porous and Softened Enamel Is Susceptible To Tooth Decay
When tooth enamel breaks down, it leaves the tooth susceptible to tooth decay. As enamel breaks down, teeth lose mineral content. Enamel erosion can change the surface of the tooth, leaving tiny weak areas for cavity-causing bacteria to take hold. Simply avoiding sugar is not enough to prevent this damage from occurring. Drinking water or milk are your best defenses against enamel erosion.
A study in the Journal of Public Health Dentistry concluded that nearly 79% of study participants showed signs of dental erosion. The most common cause was frequent consumption of sodas and fruit juices.
Avoid Sodas For Dental Health
Avoiding sodas, fruit juices and flavored waters or sports drinks is good advice. If you cannot kick the habit completely, then watch how you consume these beverages. Drink a soda or sports drink at once, rather than sip on it slowly. This will allow your body to correct the pH imbalance that occurs with acidic drinks. Follow up your acidic beverage with water. Some studies conclude that brushing immediately after an acidic drink is not a good idea, because enamel softened by the acid can be worn away by brushing. Instead, rinse well with water and brush later.
Help For Sensitive Teeth
Sensitive teeth can be caused by acid erosion. See your Saratoga dentist for an examination if you have painful, sensitive teeth. Treatments including fluoride application and preparations that can restore mineral content are available from your dentist.