Sodas: Sugar-free Doesn't Mean Safe for Your Smile

Sodas: Sugar-free Doesn’t Mean Safe for Your Smile
March 7, 2019

Does drinking sugar-free soda seem like a good way to lower your calorie count and reduce tooth decay? Although it might seem as if sodassugar-free soda would be better for your teeth, it can be just as damaging as sugary sodas. Dr. Michael Laureola, your Bradford, ON family dentist, explains how the sugar-free drink can affect your smile.

Sugar-free sodas can damage tooth enamel

Most sodas contain tartaric, citric, phosphoric and other acids that can erode the enamel on your teeth. Once the acids penetrate your enamel, tooth decay can occur. If you sip sugar-free soda throughout the day, rather than just at mealtimes, you’ll expose your teeth to a significant amount of acids and increase your risk of tooth decay. Over time, frequent exposure to acids can completely erode your enamel, exposing the dentin underneath. When this happens, your teeth look dull and yellow because the dentin is darker than your enamel.

How can I avoid damage from sugar-free sodas?

The best way to prevent damage is to stop drinking sugar-free sodas. If that’s not possible, reduce the amount you drink and follow these tips:

  • Limit Sodas to Mealtime: When you have a soda with a meal, you’re more likely to finish the entire drink fairly quickly, which decreases the time that the acids remain in your mouth.
  • Use a Straw: A smaller amount of the soda reaches your teeth when you drink through a straw.
  • Choose Tooth-Friendly Drinks: Water, milk, black tea and coffee are better choices. If you can’t give up soda, root beer contains less acid than other types of soda.
  • Wait to Brush Your Teeth: Since acids cause enamel erosion, brushing your teeth sounds like a good way to get rid of the acids after you indulge in your favorite sugar-free drink. Unfortunately, if you brush your teeth after you finish your drink, you’ll only spread the acids around your mouth. Wait at least an hour before brushing your teeth after you finish a sugar-free soda.

Regular dental visits are particularly important if you drink sugar-free soda regularly. Call Dr. Laureola, your Bradford, ON family dentist, at (905) 778-9339 to schedule your next appointment.