If you’re like about one-half of the American population, you drink at least one sugary drink on a daily basis — and there’s a good chance it’s soda. Drinking high-sugar soft drinks is most commonly associated with obesity, type 2 diabetes, and weight gain. But sodas can also have ill effects on your smile, potentially leading to cavities and even visible tooth decay.
Men are more likely to drink soda and sugary drinks. Teenage boys drink the most and get about 273 calories from them per day. That number only falls to 252 calories in their 20s and 30s.
How Soft Drinks Hurt Your Teeth
When you drink soda, the sugars within interact with bacteria in your mouth to form acid. This acid attacks your teeth. Both regular and sugar-free sodas also contain their own acids, and these attack the teeth too. With each swig of soda, you’re starting a damaging reaction that lasts for about 20 minutes. If you sip all day, your teeth are under constant attack.
Erosion and Cavities
There are two main dental effects of drinking soda: erosion and cavities.
Erosion begins when the acids in soft drinks encounter the tooth enamel, which is the outermost protective layer on your teeth. Their effect is to reduce the surface hardness of the enamel.
While sports drinks and fruit juices can also damage enamel, they stop there.
Soft drinks, on the other hand, can also affect the next layer, dentin, and even composite fillings. This damage to your tooth enamel can invite cavities. Cavities, or caries, develop over time in people who drink soft drinks regularly. When combined with poor oral hygiene, the results can be disastrous.
Mountain Dew Mouth
Perhaps one of the most extreme examples of the dental effects of soft drink consumption is known as “Mountain Dew Mouth,” a phenomenon most common in Central Appalachia. This condition is caused by very high consumption of soft drinks, including its namesake, Mountain Dew.
Those who suffer from it experience visible tooth decay, as acids from the soda essentially eat away the enamel to leave behind disturbing results.
Unfortunately, children are most at risk for suffering the teeth-damaging effects of soft drinks, as their vulnerable enamel is not fully developed.
*Information courtesy of www.healthline.com