How Drinking Soda Affects Teeth
You probably don’t need us to tell you that drinking soda is bad for your kids’ teeth. Conventional wisdom has already passed that nugget of truth around. Still, there’s a conversation worth having about this topic, because, as a parent, you’re going to have to work with your kids on developing safe and healthy soda consumption habits. Your kids are going to drink soda: at school, at their friends’ houses, at restaurants, and so on. How can you help them enjoy something they like in a balanced way?
Here are some suggestions:
Moderation: How much soda should my kids drink?
Trying to cut sodas out entirely isn’t the only solution. And sodas aren’t the only drinks that are high in sugars or acidic content; juices and sports drinks are as well. So instead of eliminating, think in terms of moderating. One soda a day is a good place to start.
Timing: When should my kids drink soda?
There are a couple of things to work on here:
- It’s best to drink soda with a meal, when the acids and sugars won’t just sit on the teeth and when saliva levels are naturally the highest.
- If your kids are drinking soda at non-meal times, encourage them to drink it quickly, instead of just taking sips over the course of several hours. Every time you take another sip of soda, the acidic attack on the teeth starts over, and your saliva has to start over with trying to neutralize the pH balance in your mouth.
Before and after: Tips for protecting teeth from acid attacks!
- Use a straw, if one is available. Drinking through a straw helps prevent the sugars from coating the teeth.
- Drink plenty of water! (We understand that getting kids to drink water is easier said than done.) Drinking water dilutes and washes away some of the sugars and lessens the impact of the acids on the tooth enamel.
- Wait at least 30 minutes after drinking a soda before brushing teeth. That may sound a little counterintuitive, but acids soften enamel, and if you brush right away after drinking soda, you could actually brush away some of that softened enamel.