Soft Drinks and Your Teeth

Soft Drinks and Your Teeth

If you’re like millions of people across America, you most likely consume at least one sugary drink on a daily basis — and there’s a very good chance that drink is soda. Drinking soft drinks that contain high amounts of sugar is commonly associated with obesity, weight gain, Type 2 diabetes, and other health ailments. But soft drinks can also have ill effects on your smile, and can potentially lead to cavities and, in some cases, even visible tooth decay.

How Do Soft Drinks Affect My Teeth?

When you consume soft drinks (soda), the sugars contained in the beverage interact with the bacteria that is naturally present in your mouth to form acid. The freshly-formed acid attacks your teeth and surrounding gum tissue. In addition, both regular sodas and those labeled as “sugar-free” also contain their own acids. These acids also form an assault on your teeth. With each sip you’re starting a damaging reaction that typically lasts for around 20 minutes. So as you can imagine, if you’re sipping all day, your teeth are under constant attack!

Cavities and Tooth Erosion

There are two main effects that soft drink consumption has on your teeth: cavities and tooth erosion.

Erosion starts when acids contained soft drinks come in contact with the tooth enamel, which is the protective layer on your teeth. As time goes on these acids reduce the surface hardness of the tooth enamel.

Sports drinks and many fruit juices can also damage enamel, but the difference is that, as opposed to sodas, they stop there.

Soft drinks can also affect the next layer of the teeth — the dentin — and even composite fillings. The damage that is done to your tooth enamel can then invite cavities. Cavities (commonly referred to as “caries” in dental speak) develop over the course of time in those people who consume soft drinks regularly. And when combined with overall poor oral hygiene, the results can be disastrous, and often times go relatively unnoticed until it’s too late.

What Can I Do?

The obvious solution is to stop drinking soda entirely. Unfortunately, for many of us that’s just a little too tough to do. After all, sodas do taste great, right? Fortunately there are several things that you can do to help minimize the damage that soft drinks do to your teeth:

  • Drink in moderation. Don’t consume more than one soft drink on a daily basis. One will do enough damage all by itself!
  • Drink sodas quickly. The longer it takes you to consume a soft drink, the more time it has to be a menace to your dental health. Drinking sodas quickly will lessen the time sugars and acids have to wreak havoc on your teeth.
  • Use a straw. Using a straw to drink a soda will help to keep damaging acids and sugars away from your teeth.
  • Rinse with water. Flushing your mouth with water after drinking a soda will help to wash away any remaining sugars and acids, which in turn helps to stop them from attacking your teeth.
  • Don’t brush right away! Contrary to what you may think, brushing your teeth immediately after consuming soda is not the best idea. This is because the friction against your recently acid-attacked teeth can do more harm than good. Remember, your teeth are still highly vulnerable after you’ve taken that last sip. Instead, flush your mouth with water and wait 30 to 60 minutes before brushing.
  • Avoid soft drinks prior to bedtime. Not only will the sugars and caffeine (if your soda is not decaffeinated) potentially keep you awake, the sugar and acids will have the entire night to wreak havoc on your teeth!
  • Get regular dental checkups and cleanings. Regular visits to your dentist will provide you with thorough cleanings and identify potential problems before they worsen and turn into major problems.

Do you want to learn more about effective ways to take care of your teeth and maintain excellent oral health? Contact our Garden Grove Dental Office today at (714) 891-0600 and speak with one of our friendly dental team members!

Gum Disease Treatment & Prevention

Gum Disease: What You Need to Know

What is Gum Disease?

Gum disease (periodontal disease) begins when plaque, a sticky film that remains on teeth after eating, sleeping, or just going about your daily routine, is not properly removed. This plaque will eventually turn to tartar, which is the hardened form of plaque. Tartar can cause inflammation and pockets – areas around the tooth where the gums have been pulled away by the tartar. When bacteria get into these pockets they can cause pain, redness, inflammation and even bleeding.

Am I at Risk?

While there are many risk factors that contribute to gum disease, the following are some of the more common:

  • Diabetes
  • Genetic Predisposition
  • Hormonal Changes (in females)
  • Medications
  • Smoking
  • Smokeless Tobacco

How Do I Know if I Have Gum Disease?

While the above descriptions and risk factors are all a good gauge, signs and symptoms of periodontal disease can be best discovered by visiting the dentist regularly. Bleeding gums, chronic bad breath, pain while eating, sensitivity to hot and cold, loose teeth and receding gums are all common signs and symptoms of gum disease.

How Do I Prevent Gum Disease?

The best way to face periodontal disease head on is to prevent it from occurring in the first place. Brushing at least twice daily with a dentist-approved fluoride toothpaste, flossing after meals, eating a well-balanced diet, quitting smoking or smokeless tobacco and scheduling regular dental checkups are some of the most effective ways to prevent gum disease from occurring. Gum disease starts with inflammation and if gone undetected or left untreated can lead to tooth and bone loss.

How is Gum Disease Treated?

There are many methods of treating and preventing the advancement of gum disease. The specific treatment plan will depend on the severity and advancement of the disease. Treatment can include non-surgical removal of harmful pocket-forming bacterial plaque, antibiotic treatment, regenerative therapy or conventional surgical procedures, as well as dental implants. Treatment is carefully selected to match your specific needs.

For more information about gum disease and gum disease treatment in Garden Grove, CA, please visit our website at or call us at (714) 891-0600.

Dr. Chad Hicks-Beach is a Garden Grove CA dentist serving patients in Garden Grove and the surrounding areas in California.