We’ve all heard the phrase “Sip all day, get decay”. This is no myth!
Soda is highly acidic and is filled with sugar. The more acidic the mouth becomes the more conducive to the cavity causing bacteria, and that bacteria feeds on the sugar.
The healthy mouth is neutral, so sipping soda rather than drinking it exposes your mouth to the acid and the sugar long term. This can quickly make a big difference in the way it affects the health of your teeth. When we eat or drink anything, it is normal for the acidity level in our mouths to drop in to an unhealthy level where the cavity causing bacteria thrive in this environment. Once you are done eating or drinking, it still takes an additional 40 minutes for your mouth to return to a neutral level.
Think about it: If you drink a soda in a 10 minute time frame, your mouth will be acidic for 10 minutes + the 40 minutes it takes to return to normal. A total of 50 minutes. If you sip a soda for an hour, your mouth with be acidic for 60 minutes + 40 minutes. A total of 1.6 hours. This is a long period of time for bacteria to grow and attack the enamel on your teeth. No wonder soda sippers have a higher rate of tooth decay!
So can I switch to Sports Drinks? Sports drinks may boost your energy, but they contain levels of acid that can cause tooth softening, tooth erosion, hypersensitivity, and staining.
Link - Sports Drinks May Damage Your Teeth
What about diet Soda? - Diet soda still has the same level of acidity and contains Aspartame. A lot of research is finding that Aspartame is harmful to health. But that is for another blog, another day.
Some helpful hints for those of you who still like to enjoy a soda: swish your mouth with water after enjoying a soft drink. This will help reduce the amount of time your mouth stays acidic. You can also brush your teeth or chew a piece of sugar free gum (preferable sweetened with xylitol which has been shown to eliminate the harmful bacteria). Also, it is important to know that not all sodas are created equal! While Pepsi and Coke are most acidic next to battery acid, Root Beer is less acidic.
Talk with your hygienist about alternative drinks you can enjoy that have a lower risk of causing cavities. A cavity free exam = a happy dental staff!