Many American families consume sugary drinks like soda, energy drinks, sweetened coffee, or fruit juice on a daily basis but do not fully realize the effects these beverages have on their health. In addition to contributing to weight gain, type 2 diabetes, and increasing the risk of heart disease, drinking sugary drinks also has detrimental consequences for your dental health.
What Makes Sugary Drinks So Harmful?
Beverages like soda—considered the most harmful of sugary drinks—include acids such as phosphoric acid, carbonic acid, and citric acid among their top ingredients. Your mouth naturally contains harmful bacteria that interact with the sugars you consume and produce acid as a result. This acid is harmful to your teeth on its own, but once you add to that the acids found in sugary drinks, the result is an even greater risk of dental damage like enamel erosion and cavities.
You might think diet or sugar-free drinks are a better choice since they contain little to no sugar. However acid is the key factor here, and diet drinks are still high in acids that can have damaging effects on your teeth.
It’s not just soft drinks that are harmful to teeth. Beverages with high sugar content such as fruit juice or sports drinks still interact with the mouth’s bacteria to produce damaging acids. This means that even if they don’t drink soda, your children can still be at risk for dental damage caused by acid.
What Can Happen to Your Teeth?
Many people are aware of the negative health effects of regularly drinking sugary beverages, but even casual consumption of these drinks can cause lasting damage to your teeth. Two of the most common dental issues that arise from this habit are enamel erosion and cavities.
Tooth enamel is the hardest substance in the human body, but it can still be damaged. Remember those acids we just talked about? Here’s where they come into play. Both the acid created by your mouth’s bacteria and the acid found in sugar-filled drinks erode the enamel on your teeth. Enamel is the protective layer on the outside of your teeth, so the loss of it leads them to become weaker, thinner, and more susceptible to tooth decay. Some symptoms of enamel erosion include sensitivity to hot or cold foods and discoloration on the teeth. Once it is damaged, tooth enamel cannot be restored.
As the enamel erodes it can expose the inner layer of the teeth, called dentin. While this exposure is painful on its own, it also leads to the creation of cavities. Cavities are often difficult to detect in their early stages but once they progress, signs include pain or sensitivity, dark stains, and even holes in the teeth.
Dental Insurance Offers Protection
If you are concerned that your consumption of sugary drinks has caused conditions like enamel erosion or tooth decay, you need to visit your dentist immediately before the problem progresses – and put down the soda! With great dental insurance, you don’t have to worry about the effect that going to the dentist will have on your bank account. Many people’s employers offer dental coverage, but if yours does not, a private plan is an excellent option. Reach out to your agent today to learn more.