Here in Soda City (or Cola Town), Columbia, SC loves an iced cold coke just as much as any American. Since a lot of Americans are working from home, they might feel more inclined to head to the kitchen to grab a coke repeatedly throughout the day. Unfortunately, sipping coke all day isn’t the best for your teeth. Studies show that an excessive intake of cokes can lead to serious dental consequences such as cavities and erosion.
Ideally, if you want to protect your teeth from the potential damage that coke can cause, you should give up the habit. This isn’t a realistic strategy for most of us, though, who habitually drink coke daily. But you can still protect your teeth from the acid and sugar found in cokes with these strategies.
Cut Down on Cokes
Most of us can’t give up coke completely, but perhaps we can cut down. Americans drink more coke than people in other countries. Americans drink about 44 gallons a year, compared to other countries that drink:
- Japan: 9 gallons
- Russia: 8 gallons
- South Korea: 7 gallons
- Italy: 13 gallons
You can make it easier to cut down by substituting one coke a day with another option, like a cup of coffee, tea, or water. If you’re drinking coffee or tea, try drinking them without sugar. And if you want to avoid staining, skip the coffee and opt for herbal tea instead. Not only will cutting down on the coke help your teeth, but also your waistline. Cutting down on sugar will help you prevent cavities and other conditions such as diabetes and heart disease.
Drink It with a Meal
If you’re just sipping your coke all afternoon, you’re constantly exposing your teeth to acidic damage. But if you drink your coke with a meal, the acid is partly neutralized by the food in your mouth, and you’re more likely to drink the coke all at once, which reduces the amount of time your teeth are exposed to an acidic environment.
Don’t Think Diet Will Save You
You might think that because it doesn’t have sugar, diet coke is better for your teeth. But the truth is that it’s as bad for your teeth as meth. So what does coke do to your teeth? In the first 20 minutes it comes into contact with your teeth, the sugar interacts with the bacteria in your mouth which forms acid. The acid then attacks the teeth by eroding the tooth enamel and damaging the next layer in your teeth, dentin in addition to composite fillings. The fizz in soda is also very acidic and can cause erosion. Even if you want to swap out your daily coke for unsweetened seltzer water, you still risk damaging your teeth. The more soda you drink, the more trips to the dentist you will take. Kick the Cola
Cola is most acidic type of coke, and it contains dark artificial colors. You can reduce the damage to your teeth by switching to a less acidic type of coke. The least acidic type is root beer.
Chase It with Water
You can reduce the amount of time your teeth spend in an acidic environment by rinsing your mouth with water after drinking a coke. This allows your saliva to re-establish a healthy pH, and encourages remineralization of your teeth. Should you brush your teeth after drinking soda? NO! Don’t brush your teeth right away. If you brush your teeth while the enamel is softened, you can increase erosion of your enamel.
Bonus Strategy: Make an Ally of Your Dentist
Finally, if you really want to protect your teeth, it’s important to work with our Columbia SC dentist on a strategy. First, make your regular dental check-ups, and talk to your dentist about your coke habit, so that he can make recommendations about what’s appropriate for you based on the actual state of your teeth.
If you’re overdue with visiting a dentist, please call Smile Columbia Dentistry at (803) 781-9090 today for an appointment.