Every time you step into a mini-mart, you’re faced with a host of options to squelch your thirst. A rainbow of colors in plastic bottles compete for your attention, and creative marketing often transforms sugared water into a fountain of youth. When it comes to your teeth, does it matter what you choose? How does a bottle of cola or a sports drink affect your teeth and general health?  Everybody knows most of these drinks include a lot of sugar, but it’s easy to overlook how much they carry. A little quick math can help you visualize the carbohydrate burst that occurs with the first sip. The nutritional label reports the number of grams of sugar in a serving, and there are 4 grams of sugar in a teaspoon. If a bottle shows 20 grams in a single serving, picture it as 5 teaspoons.     

  

  	
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


     While a 12-ounce soda used to be the norm, 20-ounce bottles are now considered standard. But many of the labels show the grams of sugar for an 8-ounce serving, and they frequently report 2.5 servings in a bottle! Calculating the numbers on a typical label indicates you’ll consume over 19 teaspoons of sugar in this soft drink. Take a look at this one:  The bacteria that cause cavities use sugar for energy and produce acidic waste that erodes tooth enamel. Syrupy drinks provide an ideal power source to keep this population thriving while instigating an insulin spike in the bloodstream. The colossal sugar load also drives the liver to convert sugar into fat. Chronically elevated insulin creates insulin resistance, a condition that contributes to a range of diseases. From cavities to cancer, sugared drinks help fuel many of the health problems afflicting people today.  An Acid Problem  Sugar forms a vital part of the formula that produces tooth decay, but it’s the acid that ultimately causes enamel to dissolve. The normal pH of your mouth rests around 7, but tooth structure begins to erode when the acidity drops to 5.5. Soda can send the pH of the mouth into a nosedive, making the mouth 1000 times more acidic than needed to start damaging teeth. A review of many ingredient labels shows citric, phosphoric, and carbonic acids in the mix. It may take 15 minutes for the mouth’s pH to return to normal after the last sip, and that means a steady diet of sugary drinks can alter the mouth for hours each day.  Diet sodas often hover around a pH of 3.2, far into the range that damages teeth. It’s a good thing that sugar is missing, but a steady exposure to high acidity can still lead to a weakening of tooth enamel. Artificial sweeteners may have long-term general health effects that we’re yet to understand fully.     

  

  	
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


     Limit The Damage  The best strategy for the sake of your teeth and overall health is to enjoy fresh water on a regular basis. If you’re going to drink soda, consider the following tips:   Drink soda or sports drinks through a straw to minimize your teeth’s exposure.  Rinse with water right after drinking one of these beverages.  Avoid brushing your teeth for 30 minutes after drinking the beverage. This practice allows your mouth to return to normal pH before the teeth undergo the light abrasion of brushing.  Avoid drinks that list acids on the ingredient label.    If you consume a sports drink during strenuous exercise or enjoy an occasional soda with a meal, there’s not a lot of reason to worry. Commit to keep sugar exposure to a minimum and drink more fresh water: Your teeth and your body will thank you!     
 
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Did you know that Americans drink nearly 45 gallons of soda and sports drinks on average every year? Teeth are made of the hardest substance in your body and withstand a lot of chewing and grinding, but sugar and acid from these beverages damage enamel.

The Ice Chewing Dilemma

The Ice Chewing Dilemma

Your teeth and the surrounding jaw muscles present a powerhouse capable of crushing even the hardest foods to pieces. But sometimes we use our teeth in ways that push them to the limit and lead to unnecessary problems and treatment. Learn about one habit that may accelerate the breakdown of your teeth and how to read the symptoms your teeth share with you.

What’s Behind Bad Breath?

What’s Behind Bad Breath?

When you wake up in the morning, no one expects your breath to smell very good. With a few good hygiene habits, your breath is usually ready for the day. But if you’re struggling with bad breath, or you suspect it might be a problem, we have a few tips to kick this social issue to the curb. Learn more here about the real causes and how to keep your breath fresh every day.
 

Teeth That Go The Distance

Teeth That Go The Distance

When you consider what teeth go through, it’s amazing how well they hold up. In a warm, moist environment they undergo a barrage of forces.  Bacterial toxins wash over them while acidic foods and drinks flood their mineralized surface.  So should teeth wear out and eventually be removed?  Or can you expect them to last a lifetime?  Learn more about how you can put yourself on the right side of dental health HERE!

5 Habits That Damage a Smile

Be careful to avoid bad habits that may be damaging your teeth.

Teeth are essential players in digestion, central to our appearance, and even help us form our words properly.  Enamel, the hardest substance in our bodies, provides a tough outer layer made of intricate crystal rods. And a solid foundation of bone and gum surround the teeth and hold them firmly in place.  As resilient as teeth are, our habits can compromise our smile and leave us with damage that’s challenging to repair. 

Here are 5 habits that you need to be careful to avoid:

Ice can damage teeth.

1. Ice Chewing

We’ve all crunched on ice on a hot summer day.  But chewing on a chunk of ice puts tremendous strain on the crystal structure of your teeth.  The combination of hardness and extreme temperature stress enamel in a way few things do. Microfractures develop in the enamel, and they may eventually expand to form deeper cracks.  Teeth with large fillings are especially susceptible, and large pieces of tooth may eventually break away.  In some cases, a tooth may split in half and be impossible to save. 

SOLUTION: Use ice for drinks, not as a crunchy treat.

Soda and sports drinks are loaded with sugar that can damage teeth over time. 

2. Soda and Sports Drinks

You probably know that soda is loaded with sugar.  A typical can delivers 9 teaspoons on average, and sugar provides an ideal energy source for the bacteria that cause cavities.  But did you know many sports drinks hold just as much and often get consumed in larger quantities?    To top it off, many carbonated beverages contain different types of acid that erode the mineral in your teeth.  Even diet sodas can dramatically change the acidity of your mouth and weaken the surface of the teeth.

SOLUTION: Reach for cold water with a splash of lemon and use sports drinks only with strenuous activities.

Unintentional teeth grinding can wear down a tooth’s bite surface and cause sensitivity.

3. Teeth Grinding

Stress finds many ways to express itself and gnashing of the teeth is just one of them. Teeth grinding, also known as bruxism, slowly thins away enamel, chips fillings and porcelain, and stresses the gums.  Worn teeth often look like sandpaper has been run across the biting surface, and replacing missing enamel often involves extensive, full-mouth dental treatment. 

SOLUTION: Consider a custom-fit nightguard to save your teeth, jaw, and gums from major problems.

Basketball is the number 1 sport for mouth injuries.

4. Sports without Mouthguards

An elbow to the chops happens in a split second, but the damage can be life-changing.  Many athletic activities carry the risk of tooth fracture, and most participants don’t consider mouth protection.  Do you know the #1 sport for mouth injuries?  Basketball!  Few players wear a mouthguard, which leads to unnecessary danger. Any close contact sport carries risk worth eliminating. 

SOLUTION:  Consider a custom athletic guard designed for your particular activity level.  Multiple layers of protection can be added for maximum safety.

Chewing tobacco and snuff can cause damage to teeth and gums.

5. Chewing Tobacco

While smoking has declined in recent years, the use of snuff has continued to climb over the past 15 years.  Nearly 50,000 people in the U.S. will be diagnosed with oral cancer every year, and many more will suffer from adverse effects of this highly addictive habit.  Gum recession, bad breath, and tooth decay are just a few of the problems resulting from the nearly 3000 chemicals found in chewing tobacco.

SOLUTION: If you’re not a user, don’t start. If you’re struggling with quitting, ask us about ideas to support your effort. It’s worth it.

 

Most people want to enjoy a lifetime with their own teeth, but just one bad habit can undermine the best intentions.  Fortunately, the Stacy L. Davis, DDS team has solutions to lower many risks, and we’re here to provide support for any lifestyle changes you’d like to make.