Drinking Soda Causes Dental Erosion

by Shaun Damon

Tooth enamel is the hard, semi-translucent outer layer of the teeth. It protects teeth from the daily wear and tear of biting and chewing. The main function of tooth enamel is to guard against the erosive effects of acids and chemicals. When the enamel erodes, teeth become painfully sensitive to hot or cold food and drinks and sweets. Consumption of too many soft drinks is one of the causes of tooth enamel erosion.

Various studies show that various types of sodas are the major cause of the loss of enamel and dental erosion. They contain highly acidic ingredients such as citric acid and phosphoric acid. Since these acidic ingredients have low pH, they are erosive to the enamel of the teeth.

High sugar beverages including fruit juices, sodas, and sport drinks that are consumed over long periods can also lead to tooth enamel erosion. These drinks cause surface softening and erosion of the enamel as the pH of these drinks has more erosive potential. Thus, more acidic the drink that we consume, the more dental erosive it is. Soft drinks such as sodas, contain low pH levels and low fluoride levels that have erosive potential on the teeth.

Causes of Dental Erosion: Dental erosion is the loss of tooth enamel that is caused by a chemical process and not by a bacterial infection. Acids in the beverages such as citric acid have calcium chelating properties that cause enamel damage, resulting in dental erosion.
Tooth erosion is the breakdown of tooth structure due to the effect of acid on the teeth. It leads to decay of teeth. Apart from the pH level of soft drinks, buffering capacity, i.e. the ability to neutralize acid also plays a significant role in the cause of tooth enamel erosion.

When consuming soft drinks, the enamel on the teeth becomes softer for a short while, resulting in the loss of some of its mineral content. Carbonated drinks are held in the mouth for longer than the non-carbonated drinks as frequently people hold till all the bubbles have disappeared. Thus, the contact time of these soft drinks with teeth is much longer and leads to dental erosion due to long exposure to a highly acidic environment created by these sodas.
Besides external causes, sometimes, gastric juices secreted by the stomach also cause dental erosion. Frequent brushing, too, may lead to tooth enamel erosion.

Treatment of Dental Erosion: Treatment of dental erosion depends on the problem. Usually, with regular checkups one can prevent the problem from getting worse. Tooth bonding is used to protect the teeth. Covering with a crown and veneers may be recommended in severe cases to protect the teeth from further decay.

If the erosion is minor, restoration of tooth enamel may be possible. Daily use of fluoride toothpaste can help in the re-mineralization of teeth. Identifying the cause helps to restore dental erosion. Since acidic foods are more responsible for tooth erosion, avoiding such foods in the diet can help to prevent tooth enamel erosion. The following home remedies help to minimize dental erosion effects.

  • Consuming carbonated beverages at mealtime can help to prevent dental erosion as the saliva produced during eating helps to wash off the acid.
  • Using a straw positioned at the back of the mouth helps to reduce the teeth's exposure to the acid.
  • Limit the intake of sodas, sports drinks and energy drinks.
  • Brush after eating and drinking.
  • Intake of milk or cheese after a meal helps to neutralize acids.
  • Ensure to consume foods with high calcium content such as cheese, peas, yogurt, almonds, broccoli, white beans, etc.
  • Antacids help to control internal acid sources.
  • Eliminate highly acidic foods and drinks from your diet. After consuming acidic foods and drinks, rinsing the mouth with water can help to minimize dental erosion effects.
References:

  1. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2676420
  2. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11961335
  3. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11556958
  4. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2343273

Warning: The reader of this article should exercise all precautionary measures while following instructions on the home remedies from this article. Avoid using any of these products if you are allergic to it. The responsibility lies with the reader and not with the site or the writer.
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