Who doesn’t love a glass Coke or other soft drink on ice to wet our whistles. during the summer? Nothing tastes or feels better, right. So I wanted to stress something we are seeing more and more in our patients. Soft drinks and sports drinks DO cause damage to teeth, especially decalcification and decay. To be clear, it is both the sugar and the acid in these drinks that cause these problems. The worst culprits are cola drinks (Coke, Pepsi, Dr. Pepper) and sports drinks (Gatorade). Other soft drinks, including diet drinks, are not too far behind. This can happen even if you have good oral hygiene habits and keep off the plaque! It obviously happens more readily around your braces.
But as this photo shows, it happens even without braces on the teeth. It starts off as a cloudy, white look to the enamel, usually along the gumline. Then it progresses to a more obvious white. Eventually the surface of the enamel breaks down and an actual cavity occurs. To prevent this, whether you have braces or not, we recommend the following:
- Minimize soft drinks to only one or two a day
- Brush your teeth, or at least rinse with water, after that refreshing drink
- Drink through a straw
- Continue to use daily fluoride, especially if you are in braces
- Drink only water while you are wearing aligners or retainers
And definitely avoid the common habit of holding soft drinks in your mouth and swishing it around, as it causes damage too. After all that, I want to say…have a great summer!