You probably understand the link between sugar and tooth decay, but did you know that sugar-free drinks can be just as damaging to your teeth? Acid is formed when sugar comes in contact with plaque or tartar on our teeth, eventually leading to tooth decay. However, the lack of sugar in these drinks does not typically affect their pH level – which measures the acidity of the drink. The acidity of sugar-free drinks can still damage your tooth enamel and erode its inner layers. How do you know when a food or drink product is safe for your teeth?
Choosing Foods & Drinks Without Acid
Many times sugar-free foods and drinks will contain an acidic additive like phosphoric acid or citrus acid – check the label for these ingredients to ensure the snack won’t damage your teeth.
All soft drinks contain acid because of their carbonation, if it weren’t for carbonic acid these drinks wouldn’t be “fizzy.” Maybe now you’ll think twice before ordering your next soft drink (whether it has sugar or not)!
Regularly visiting your dentists for professional cleanings and check-ups can ensure that any tooth decay is detected early on. Sometimes, your dentist will be able to reverse the effects, if caught early enough.
In more advanced stages, the acid will damage larger pieces of your tooth – leaving gaps or holes. Depending on the condition of your tooth, your dentist may recommend different treatment options like dental crowns or fillings to restore any tooth that was lost.
Opting for water in place of soda or other carbonated drinks can help to prevent erosion and cavities. If you do drink soda, don’t forget to brush your teeth! However, instead of brushing them immediately after you’ve finished your drink, rinse your mouth with water. Brushing them right away may damage the already softened outer layer on your tooth, so wait about an hour before grabbing your toothbrush.