There has been a steady rise in the amount of sugary drinks consumed every day by children and adults. It is not unusual for children to drink six to seven cans in a day. The average American gets more than 23 pounds of sugar from soft drinks yearly. Contrary to popular belief, diet or "sugar free" pop can be just as harmful to your teeth because of its high acid level.
When drinking soft drinks and other sugary liquids, you're exposing your teeth to something over time that even with good brushing and flossing, can break down the hard enamel that protects your teeth. Tooth decay is caused from the tiny bacteria thriving around teeth that, when exposed to sugar, produce acid. The acid causes enamel and any exposed root surfaces to soften and decay.
The hard outer coating of the teeth gets eaten away during tooth decay and leaves tooth surfaces looking darkly stained, soft and a leathery consistency. Some teeth even get tiny holes at the gum line. When left untreated, tooth decay can lead to larger cavities, root canals, crowns and possible tooth loss.
Beyond tooth decay, excess sugar consumption can lead to obesity, diabetes, calcium-robbed bones, kidney stones, osteoporosis and overall poor health.
Even if your teeth are treated for tooth decay, if you continue to drink an excess of soft drinks, decay will return. Decay between and around the teeth is difficult to treat; often, the end treatment is crowns and caps on the teeth. Usually, regular cleaning by your dentist, use of fluoride treatments and proper brushing and flossing can reduce tooth decay. You do not have to stop drinking sodas and other sugary liquids entirely, but gradually start to limit your daily intake. The frequency of consumption is more or equally important as the amount consumed.
Drink liquids low in sugar and acid, and be sure to maintain good oral health by brushing, flossing and visiting your dentist. If you have questions on soft drink tooth decay, ask your dental care provider.