Fizzy drinks and other carbonated drinks can cause both dental erosion and tooth decay.
Tooth erosion involves the loss of the hard tissue, known as the enamel, from the tooth’s surface through a chemical reaction with acids – many of which are found in carbonated fruit drinks. If left untreated, this erosion can cause sensitivity, enamel fracture and pain. Tooth decay occurs as a result of high sugar content in drinks. Some fizzy drinks can contain up to 21 lumps of sugar in a single can.
There are sugar-free fizzy
drinks, or “diet”, which do not lead to tooth decay but can still erode your
teeth by wearing away the hard tissue or enamel. Sparkling water can cause
damage as the teeth are constantly being bathed in a weak acid solution
containing carbon dioxide.
Each time any sugary drink is consumed, teeth are under acid attack for up to one hour. This is when sugar from drinks reacts with bacteria in plaque, the sticky coating on teeth, and produces harmful acids.
What to do?
- Try to avoid soft drinks as much as possible.
- Use a straw so teeth are less exposed to the sugar and acids in the drink.
- Take a drink of water, preferably tap water that has been fluoridated, after a sugary or acidic drink to rinse out the mouth and dilute the sugars.
- Protect teeth by using fluoride toothpaste.
- After drinking sugary or acidic beverages, don’t brush teeth right away. Wait at least one hour so teeth can recover and enamel can reharden before brushing.
- Don’t sip sugary or acidic drinks slowly or over a long duration. Doing so exposes teeth to sugar and acid attacks for a longer period of time.
- Never drink sugary or acidic drinks before going to bed – the liquid will pool in in the mouth, coating teeth with sugar and acid.
- Drink water instead, which has no acids and no sugar.
Dental hygiene is easy when you know how. Contact our Patient Coordinator on (03) 9460 7070 for advice on the best way to keep your teeth and gums healthy between visits.