Soda Has a Negative Effect on Your Child’s Teeth and Can Cause Serious Damage
Who doesn’t love an ice-cold, refreshing soda on a hot summer day? Not only are sodas the perfect pick-me-up at lunch, they are also the ultimate companion to an order of hot, salty fries. What could possibly be the drawback to such a delicious, drink? Well, probably the fact that it’s a huge threat to your mouth’s health.
Soda is an extremely harmful drink, not only for your body, but your mouth as well. You may hear about the effects of soda on adults, such as dehydration or dependence, but it can be far more harmful to children and teens. Not only is soda one of the leading causes of childhood obesity, but it can also cause major dental issues throughout your child’s life. The effects of soda on your child’s teeth should not be ignored.
Before understanding what’s in soda, you should understand the basic anatomy of your child’s mouth. Each tooth in your child’s mouth in covered in a protective layer called enamel. Enamel is meant to harden your teeth, protecting the dentin and pulp of your teeth. Enamel begins its development when your baby teeth come in as a child. Your mouth also produces and contains saliva known as spit. Saliva contains calcium and phosphate and is meant to protect your enamel by washing away acidic plaque.
The Effect Soda Has on Your Child’s Teeth
Soda is mostly known for the excessive sugar it contains, but that isn’t the only thing that damages your teeth. Soda contains citric acid, which has the ability to eat away your enamel. The acid found in soda plays a huge role in tooth decay and enamel erosion, leading to cavities, gum disease, and decay. Along with this, the acid can also lower the pH balance of your saliva, allowing bacteria to rapidly multiply in your mouth.
In addition, the harmful properties of soda cause damage to your teeth for up to 20 minutes after each sip. Over time, soda will cause major damage to your child’s enamel. Kids and teens are far more susceptible to enamel damage than adults, as their enamel isn’t fully developed until their mid to late teens. Since the enamel is not fully developed, regularly drinking soda can lead to a complete loss of enamel of your child’s teeth.
Preventing Soda Damage
Ultimately, kids and teens should avoid drinking soda frequently, for both general and dental health reasons. If your child does drink soda, make sure they drink from a straw. A straw will keep the soda from coming into direct contact with most of your child’s teeth. To reduce soda’s negative effects, after your child finishes a soda, have them rinse out their mouth with water to wash away the acids in their mouth.
For further protection, you could always have your child switch to a fluoride-based toothpaste, to help their enamel grow healthy and strong. You also can talk to your dentist or hygienist about possible fluoride treatments for your child during their semi-annual cleaning.