Think Be­fore You drink: Ero­sion of Tooth Enamel From Soda Pop is Per­ma­nent

Ero­sion of Tooth Enamel From Soda Pop is Per­ma­nent

Wellness Update - - Contents -

You may be sav­ing calo­ries by drink­ing diet soda, but when it comes to enamel ero­sion of your teeth, it’s no bet­ter than reg­u­lar soda. In the last 25 years, Kim McFar­land, D.D.S., as­so­ci­ate pro­fes­sor in the Univer­sity of Nebraska Med­i­cal Center Col­lege of Den­tistry in Lin­coln, has seen an in­crease in the num­ber of den­tal pa­tients with ero­sion of the tooth enamel – the pro­tec­tive layer of the tooth. Once ero­sion oc­curs, it can’t be re­versed and af­fects peo­ple their whole life. “I’d see ero­sion once in awhile 25 years ago but I see much more preva­lence nowa­days,” Dr. McFar­land said. “A lot of young peo­ple drink mas­sive quan­ti­ties of soda. It’s no sur­prise we’re see­ing more sen­si­tiv­ity.” Trig­gers like hot and cold drinks – and even cold air – reach the tooth’s nerve and cause pain. De­pend­ing on the fre­quency and amount of soda con­sumed, the ero­sion process can be ex­treme. She said the Na­tional Soft Drink As­so­ci­a­tion es­ti­mates the av­er­age Amer­i­can drinks 44 gal­lons of soda a year. Phos­phoric and cit­ric acid, which are com­mon in­gre­di­ents in many pop­u­lar so­das and diet so­das, al­ters the pH bal­ance in the mouth and can cause tooth ero­sion over time. “It can be more harm­ful than cav­i­ties be­cause the dam­age causes tooth sen­si­tiv­ity,” Dr. McFar­land said. “If a tooth is de­cayed, a den­tist can fix it by plac­ing a fill­ing, but if a tooth is sen­si­tive there is re­ally noth­ing a den­tist can do.” Dr. McFar­land said a sig­nif­i­cant num­ber of sci­en­tific stud­ies have shown a re­la­tion­ship be­tween the con­sump­tion of soda and enamel ero­sion and cav­i­ties. She said it’s best not to drink soda at all, but she of­fers tips for those who con­tinue to drink it:

Limit con­sump­tion of soda to meal­time

Don’t drink soda through­out the day Brush your teeth af­ter­wards — tooth­paste re-min­er­al­izes or strength­ens ar­eas where acid weak­ened the teeth

If tooth brush­ing is not pos­si­ble, at least rinse out your mouth with wa­ter

Chew su­gar free gum or bet­ter yet, gum con­tain­ing Xyl­i­tol

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