Gina Liggio Maestri, DDS

Dental Blog

Rethink That Sugary Drink

Hannah Johnson - Friday, June 28, 2019 - 

What is tooth decay?

Tooth decay is when bacteria from your mouth uses the sugar from sugary foods and drinks to produce acids that dissolve and damage your teeth. Sugary drinks that are high in acid include: regular and “diet” soft drinks, sports drinks, energy drinks, fruit juices, and fruit drinks.


What does the acid do?

The acid that is found in these drinks attacks the teeth in efforts to dissolve the outer surface of the tooth’s enamel. Regular loss of enamel can lead to cavities and expose the sensitive part of the tooth resulting in tooth sensitivity which can be painful. Each acid “attack” happens as soon as you take a sip from your sugary drink. An attack can actively last about 20 minutes and will start its process all over again once another sip is taken.


How to prevent tooth decay and erosion from acid?

You can prevent tooth decay and erosion by drinking soft drinks in moderation. If you are going to drink soft drinks, use a straw. Using a straw will lessen your teeth’s exposure to the sugar and acid attacks that come with the drink. After drinking a sugary or acidic drink, rinse your mouth out with fluoridated tap water to dilute the sugars. We advise you to not brush your teeth immediately after. Wait at least an hour so your teeth can recover and your enamel can harden. Switch to a fluoride based toothpaste that will help protect your teeth and build back the enamel that was damaged or lost. Do not sip on a sugary drink throughout the day. Exposing your teeth to sugar for a long period of time leaves your teeth vulnerable to acid attacks throughout the day.

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