Sometimes we all crave that one guilty pleasure of a sugary drink. For others, it may go beyond a craving where it becomes a daily habit, but even just the occasional indulgence can have negative impacts on the health of your teeth. So how much damage will sugary drinks do to your teeth? When you consume a drink of this nature, the sugar just clings to your teeth. As a result, the bacteria that is normally found inside of your mouth starts eating away at the sugar and it produces an acid. However, that is not the only type of acid your teeth will be subjected to when consuming a sugary drink. Many drinks that contain sugar are also acidic in nature. These acids will eventually start to wear away some of your enamel which can make your teeth thinner and weaker. When the enamel on your teeth starts to weaken, the chances of getting a cavity increases and the exposure of the inner layers of the tooth may make your teeth sensitive.
Contrary to popular belief, even diet or “sugar-free” drinks can contain acids that can harm our teeth. Soft drinks, diet soft drinks, and sport drinks are acidic so it is recommended to consume these rarely, if at all. Most juices have moderate levels of acidity and can be consumed occasionally, while water and milk have the lowest acidity levels and should be consumed regularly.
If you do find yourself consuming sugary/acidic beverages, it is recommended to drink water (preferably tap water that has been fluoridated) afterwards to help rinse your mouth and dilute the sugars. Also, you should wait at least one hour after consuming before brushing your teeth so that the enamel has time to recover and re-harden. When in doubt, drink water instead. It has no acid or sugar, and your teeth will thank you!