Dental Education Australia
Drinks That Dissolve Dentures and Decay Teeth
There’s nothing more refreshing than an ice cold carbonated beverage on a hot summer afternoon. But while your taste buds may appreciate the cool relief and sweet flavors, your teeth are singing a far less pleasant tune. Every sip of a soft drink, energy drink, or sports drink, washes your teeth in two harmful substances: sugar and acid. The double negative is the cause of numerous cavities and extensive tooth decay.
Recent studies have revealed some unexpected facts about the popular refreshments that we consume on a daily basis.
Soda: (carbonated beverages): According to the Global Market Information Database, a 2002 study of soft drink consumption comparison by nation puts the United States at nearly double what other countries consume. The U.S. ranks No. 1 at 216 liters per person per year, Ireland is in second place at 126 liters per person yearly, and at No. 3 is Norway with 119.8 liters.
Soft drinks contain high levels of sugar (depending on the soda, it may contain up to 12 teaspoons of sugar) and acid which can severely damage the enamel of your teeth after regular use. Even the diet drinks that use aspartame instead of sugar, still contain a dangerous level of acid nearly equivalent to that of battery acid.
The recent trend towards diet drinks was reflected in an article released by MSNBC in announcing that Diet Coke officially surpassed Pepsi in popularity. Coca-Cola Co. now holds the top two slots for the first time. More importantly, the results illustrate the fact that we are becoming more health conscious.
Energy Drinks: General Dentistry conducted a study of teens and found that an astonishing 30 to 50% of them use energy drinks at least once a day. Recent research has also linked these beverages to teeth decay as well as their high levels of sugar and acid. In as few as five days of testing, results showed that significant damage took place with the teeth.
What most teens and other consumers fail to realize is that they are essentially giving their teeth an acid bath every time they down these high-caffeine beverages. This kind of habit, though it might keep the teen somewhat awake for the short term, can be devastating to the teeth in a relatively short amount of time.
Again, even the sugar-free varieties are just as harmful, and the damage is equal to or greater than what sodas are capable of doing. Given the immense popularity of these drinks for students in high school, college, and even at work, this could result in significant increases of tooth and enamel decay.
Sports Drinks: Sports drinks are the unnoticed villain in this tragic tale of woe. The same study by General Dentistry reveals a shocking statistic: up to 60% of teens consume sports drinks daily. Considering these beverages are equal to both soft drink and energy drinks in destructive properties, this is a scary number to see.
Many consumers are unaware just how high in acidity their Gatorade is and what kind of damage they’re doing to their teeth. Popular sports beverages include, Gatorade and Powerade, among others. These name brand sports drinks pose a serious risk for teeth damage due to their acidity levels in conjunction with their popularity.
Although these beverages can cause serious damage, there are several simple ways you can prevent excessive destruction of your teeth.
Saving the Smile
The most obvious solution for denture and natural tooth protection is to cut back on the soft drink intake. Because acid causes your enamel to break down and weaken your defense against cavities, reducing your sugary and acidic drink intake down to about one can a week will give the enamel on your teeth time to recover between each beverage.
For those who consume sports drinks before, during, and after their athletic events, consider switching to water. At the very least, rinse your mouth out with water directly after consuming your sports drink to help rid your teeth of the acid coating.
You may think that brushing your teeth will help prevent sugar and acid from harming your teeth, and although this is true in part, it shouldn’t be done until an hour or so after you have consumed the beverage. Brushing immediately will spread the acid and coat the entire surface of your teeth.
Switching to diet or sugar-free drinks will eliminate at least one of the problems involved. Still, be aware that acid is also a risk in diet drinks.
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