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If you are a regular visitor to the dentist or just hear / read things in the media generally, you will know that fizzy drinks are not recommended by dentists for promoting good oral health. Whilst many people are aware of this, do you actually know why this is so, or some of the consequences? In our latest blog post we’ll try and explain this a little more clearly, so you know where we get our facts from to come to this conclusion.
One of the main problems with fizzy drinks is sugar. Many fizzy drinks contain large doses of sugar sometimes even in very small bottles. These are bad for health generally, let alone teeth, because you are consuming too much in a short space of time. As far as teeth are concerned, when we ingest sugar the sticky coating sticks to our teeth. If this is not removed, then this allows bacteria in the form of plaque to flourish. A gradual build-up of plaque over time can lead to tooth problems, including tooth decay. Simply put the more excess sugar you consume, the more likely you are to accelerate this process.
Ah, but what about sugar free drinks?
Sugar free drinks do get around the above problem, but unfortunately this is not the answer, as sugar is not the only problem in fizzy drinks. Fizzy drinks contain acid as an integral part of their ingredients. The more fizzy drinks you consume the more you are simply dissolving the coating of your teeth away to acid. This can lead to tooth erosion and other related / consequential problems. Studies have been done to look into this. We have all seen the video of an ‘experimental tooth’ dissolved in coke to see what the results would be. Research has shown that after just 2 weeks, regular exposure to fizzy drinks (and yes, even sugar free ones,) causes a significant amount of the tooth enamel to reduce. As you can see, it doesn’t take much, so we all need to be very careful about the fizzy drinks we consume.
Don’t fruit juices contain acids?
Yes. These often confuse people because they are often dubbed as healthy drinks. We’ll take a closer look at the best and worst drinks for teeth in a later posting, but too much fruit juice can ironically damage teeth in the same way as fizzy drinks can.
What should I do?
If you know you are a regular drinker of fizzy drinks, then the first step is becoming aware of this with a view to taking action. When something is so engrained in our lifestyle it can be very difficult to break or change, so you might find this quite difficult. Start by gradually cutting down. Often when we make changes like this starting is the hardest part. Instead of drinking your fizzy drinks from a glass or bottle, switch to using a straw. Try drinking through a straw as this does shield the teeth a little and at least it is a step in the right direction. Try to aim the straw for the back of the mouth so it bypasses the tooth area as much as possible. Using a cavity protection toothpaste can also help, because it protects the teeth more and slows some of the negatives effects that fizzy drinks are having on your teeth.. Remember that regular brushing and flossing will help with all round oral health, so remember to keep up your normal cleaning routines.
We are all human, no one is perfect, and everyone likes indulgence whether that be fizzy drinks or anything else. We know people are not going to just suddenly stop drinking pop or coke (although of course this would be the best solution!) Instead, as dentists, our job is to try and limit the damage that these drinks can do as much as possible, by giving you the facts and information and helping you make different choices. Hopefully this posting has gone some way to doing that!
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