Delicate Dental Arts


A close-up of six different soda bottles on top of ice cubes.

Wait! Don’t Drink that Soda!

When someone starts up a bad habit like smoking or drugs, they assume it will take a long time to cause any lasting damage. We know this isn’t true for a lot of habits (like cocaine, which can cause respiratory or heart failure with just one use), but one habit that’s not exempt from this might surprise you: drinking sugary drinks.

Long-term Damage within 30 Seconds

As a dentist, it’s long been clear to me how dangerous sugary, acidic drinks like soda, sports drinks, and fruit juices are to teeth. Excessive sugar and acid attract tooth-harming bacteria while weakening tooth enamel.

But a recent article in the California Dental Association Journal caught my eye by claiming that soda isn’t just damaging as a long-term habit. The study declared that soda causes lifelong damage to teeth within 30 seconds of consuming an acidic drink! They were able to demonstrate this for the first time, which doesn’t bode well for heavy soda drinkers.

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How Does it Happen?

While the immediate damage is bad, that’s not the only problem. There’s also the fact that a balance exists between protective mechanisms and acids in a typical healthy mouth. After the balance has shifted toward the acids, teeth will be affected long-term.

And if you combine acidic drinks with other issues like teeth grinding or acid reflux, you’ve got an even more lethal set of conditions for long-term oral health concerns.

This is most pronounced for young people, as their teeth are still developing and vulnerable to harm. However, the authors of the study concluded that these drinks should be avoided altogether, eschewed in favor of fresh fruit, water, and low-fat milk.

Even if you can’t help but have sugary drinks like soda on occasion, this study shows that you really shouldn’t make a habit out of them.

Making your teeth a work of art!

~Dr. Nancy Nguyen

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