Whenever you have a swig of soda, the liquid will go down your throat, however, there is a thin, sugary film remaining on the teeth. For those who neglect brushing away this film, you increase the likelihood that sugar-loving bacteria will enter your mouth. Over time, this can potentially lead to a gum infection known as gingivitis.By understanding how soda can contribute to gingivitis, you can take steps to minimize your risk. Speak to your dental professional about the best ways to care for your teeth.
When you bite into a celery stick or chew a tough piece of meat, you have strong, healthy teeth to thank. You also can’t forget the anchors for your teeth: your gums, or gingiva. Bacteria in your mouth and food are naturally attracted to sugary and/or starchy substances, and soda is high in sugar. If you neglect dental hygiene, such as brushing and flossing twice daily, these bacteria can form into a hardened plaque called tartar, which only a professional can remove. Both tartar and plaque can irritate your gums, causing swelling, tenderness and bleeding, symptoms that indicate gingivitis.
Another way drinking soda can contribute to gingivitis is through tooth enamel erosion. Sodas are highly acidic, and when your teeth are exposed to soda, the phosphoric acids in colas or citric acids in non-colas can weaken your tooth enamel, just as if you were chipping away at a rock. Less tooth enamel translates into less fortification and strength for your teeth, so bacteria that make their assault have less to work through to reach your teeth and gums. Non-cola options, such as lemon-lime soft drinks, tend to be more acidic than their cola counterparts, such as root beer. However, both can lead to gingivitis.
Switching to diet or sugar-free sodas is an option for cutting back on your exposure to sugars that can lead to buildup of plaque bacteria. Remember, however, that diet sodas still contain acids that can erode your tooth enamel, leaving you susceptible to cavities and plaque buildup.
If quitting drinking soda cold turkey isn’t an option, there are other steps you can take to minimize your gingivitis risk while drinking soda. This includes drinking soda through a straw, which minimizes soda’s exposure to your teeth. Good oral hygiene is vital as well. Because plaque can take about 24 hours to form into tartar, brushing your teeth twice a day can help to safeguard against plaque buildup. You also can brush your teeth after consuming soda to minimize the amount of sugars that may remain on your teeth. Making twice-yearly trips to your dentist helps remove the excess tarter that can lead to gingivitis.