Tips to Enjoy Soft Drinks & Avoid Tooth Decay

Soda and juice are hard on teeth. Here’s how to drink up without messing up your smile.

Soft Drinks

Soft drinks destroy teeth

They might hit the spot on a hot summer day, but soft drinks are anything but sweet for your teeth. Low pH levels in typical soft drinks make your mouth acidic—the ideal environment for sugars to attack the hard, protective outer layer of the teeth called enamel.

Worn enamel means your teeth are dental Swiss cheese—thin, soft and full of holes. Not good for keeping your mouth healthy.

Did you know?

Orange juice can decrease tooth enamel by 84%.

- University of Rochester Eastman Dental Center, “Effects of tooth Whitening and Orange juice on Surface Properties of Dental Enamel” (2009)

Flavored waters and fruit juices

Flavored waters and fruit juices are generally lower in sugar than soda, but many have high levels of citric acids.

There’s a reason why citric acid is added to detergents: It’s an abrasive that cuts through tough stains. That’s the same stuff splashing on your teeth. Yikes!

 

Enjoy soft drinks in moderation

Now smile. It’s not that you can’t drink your favorite soda or glass of OJ. Fruit juices have a ton of healthy benefits for your body, after all. Just drink in moderation, follow a few tips and you’ll minimize damage to your teeth. Cheers!

 

Tips to protect your teeth from soda and juice

Soft drinks break down enamel, and that can lead to cavities and other problems. Here’s how to enjoy your favorite beverage and keep your teeth healthy.  

 

DON’T

  • Sip soft drinks all day: This leaves your teeth coated with sugar for hours on end and increases your chances for tooth damage.
  • Drink a soft drink before going to bed: Some of the worst tooth damage occurs while you’re sleeping.
  • Brush your teeth immediately after drinking a soft drink: Sounds strange, but if you wait an hour after a soft drink to brush your teeth, you’ll decrease risk of further damage to already-weakened enamel.

 

DO

  • Drink soft drinks with a meal: When there’s lots of saliva present to break down the acid.
  • Use a straw with soft drinks: A straw positioned toward the back of your mouth keeps the liquid away from your teeth.
  • Brush and floss regularly. This is the number one thing you can do to fight enamel damage. It sweeps away sticky syrups that soft drinks leave on your teeth.

 

Get more expert oral health advice:

How to eat your way to a healthier mouth

Why calcium is the backbone of strong teeth

Are you getting enough fluoride to protect your teeth?

Crrrrrunch! How chewing ice can lead to a big, cold dental bill