Excess Soda Harms Teeth

Published Online: Tuesday, June 1, 2004

Although some schools are starting to restrict soda in vending machines, children and teenagers still are consuming large amounts of soda and other sugary drinks. Drinking these beverages can lead to tooth decay because the sugar combines with the bacteria in the mouth to produce acid that can destroy teeth.

Michael Donohoo, DDS, president of the Wisconsin Dental Association, said that the upper teeth usually are the most affected by soda consumption, with a majority of the decay forming between the teeth where it is hard to brush but where liquid has easy access. Dental experts offer the following tips for patients to reduce the risk of tooth decay:

  • Avoid sipping soft drinks throughout the day; instead, drink them in a short time with food or part of a meal
  • Drink through a straw so that there will be less direct contact of soda with teeth
  • Rinse the mouth with water after consuming sugary drinks
  • Do not brush the teeth after drinking soda; because the acid in the sugar and carbonation weaken tooth enamel, brushing will wear away enamel even faster
  • Brush 2 times a day and floss daily to remove plaque that can lead to tooth decay
  • Consider using an electric toothbrush, especially for children wearing braces
  • Use a fluoride toothpaste with 5000-ppm fluoride daily to strengthen tooth enamel; dentists may recommend prescription fluoride toothpaste

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