The Story on Soda: Your Soft Drink Questions Answered

🥤 Sorry to burst your bubble, but the reality is that no matter how refreshing that sweet, fizzy soda (or “pop”) tastes, there’s a chance it could be doing some damage to your teeth. But with so many products on the market, are they all really that bad for you? Learn more! The Oral Surgery DC Team

Answers to some of your most pressing soft drink questions are about to be answered. Get to the bottom of various soda claims, and find out if there’s a workaround that lets you keep your favorite carbonated beverages on tap without traumatizing your teeth.

Q. Is it better to choose clear-colored sodas over darker-colored ones?

Neither option is a healthy choice for your teeth, but upon regular consumption, caramel-hued soft drinks have been known to stain teeth more quickly. Cosmetic differences aside, the extremely high sugar content of any soda, regardless of color, causes lasting damage to tooth enamel, resulting in decay, cavities and/or tooth loss in extreme situations.

Q. Do diet sodas get a pass since they’re sugar-free?

The appeal of diet sodas is understandable, especially when the packaging comes with alluring labels of “sugar-free” or “calorie-free”. But the fact of the matter is, even with sugar substitutes, diet soda is still extremely acidic. This means diet soda will still have the same corrosive effect on the enamel and should be avoided to prevent tooth damage.

Q. Is corn syrup a more harmful soft drink sweetener than cane sugar?

Similar to the misconception about diet sodas, the threat of tooth decay, cavities, and other oral health problems aren’t based on the type of sweetener used. No matter the source of sugar, enamel erosion will happen with regular consumption of any sweetened soft drink.

Q. If I drink soda through a straw, will this protect my teeth?

Using a straw can limit contact of sugar and acid with the surface of your teeth, but only when positioned correctly. Ideally, the opening of the straw should be directed towards the back of the mouth, but the likelihood for accidental contact is still high if you become distracted or inadvertently swish the liquid in your mouth. Ultimately, the best way to prevent tooth decay due to soft drinks is to avoid drinking them altogether.

Q. What are teeth-friendly alternatives to soda?

If you find carbonated beverages especially refreshing, switch to a seltzer. You’ll get the same fizz without the threat of tooth decay. For a flavorful spin, dress up seltzer or plain water with cut up fruit (instead of turning to juice, which can erode tooth enamel due to its fructose content). Milk is also another good choice due to the enamel-fortifying calcium it contains; however, it does contain natural sugar, lactose — so never have a glass before bed without brushing your teeth.

Q. What can I do to combat enamel erosion if I can’t quit drinking soda?

For those unable to put aside their love of soft drinks, take these steps to minimize tooth decay and other soda-related oral problems:

  • Rinse your mouth and brush your teeth afterward to clear away sugar and acid
  • Use fluoride-rich toothpaste and mouthwash to help strengthen tooth enamel
  • See your dentist regularly to get professional help in preventing tooth damage

Speak To Your Dentist

New drinks are always hitting the shelves, but many may not live up to their health claims. Before making something your beverage of choice, get your dentist’s perspective to understand how it can impact the health of your teeth.

Sources:

Soda or Pop? It’s Teeth Trouble by Any Name. (n.d.). Retrieved May 24, 3015 from http://www.colgate.com/app/CP/US/EN/OC/Information/Articles/Oral-and-Dental-Health-Basics/Oral-Hygiene/Oral-Hygiene-Basics/article/Soda-or-Pop-Its-Teeth-Trouble-by-Any-Name.cvsp

Melnick, M & Klein, S. (2013, March 13). Soda Myths: The Truth About Sugary Drinks, From Sodas To Sports Drinks. Retrieved May 25, 2015 from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/13/soda-myths-facts-sugary-drinks_n_2863045.html

How Did People Clean Their Teeth in the Olden Days?

By: The Conversation, AP News, Snopes

🦷 [FUN FACT] Dental hygiene has come a long way since the days of wine-soaked toothpicks and the urine mouthwash once thought to disinfect mouths and whiten teeth.

Let’s explore the ways our ancestors clean their teeth in the olden days via snopes.com. The Oral Surgery DC Team

Dental hygiene has come a long way since the days of wine-soaked toothpicks and the urine mouthwash once thought to disinfect mouths and whiten teeth.

Some of the earliest tooth-cleaning artifacts archaeologists have found are ancient toothpicks, dental tools, and written tooth care descriptions dating back more than 2,500 years. The famous Greek doctor Hippocrates was one of the first to recommend cleaning teeth with what was basically a dry toothpaste, called a dentifrice powder.

Ancient Chinese and Egyptian texts advised cleaning teeth and removing decay to help maintain health. Some of the early techniques in these cultures included chewing on bark or sticks with frayed ends, feathers, fish bones and porcupine quills. They used materials like silver, jade, and gold to repair or decorate their teeth.

People in the Arabian Peninsula, North Africa, and the Indian subcontinent traditionally cleaned their teeth with chew sticks made from the Salvadora persica tree. They’re called miswak. Europeans cleaned their teeth with rags rolled in salt or soot.

Believe it or not, in the early 1700s a French doctor named Pierre Fauchard told people not to brush. And he’s considered the father of modern dentistry! Instead, he encouraged cleaning teeth with a toothpick or sponge soaked in water or brandy.

In the late 1700s, Englishman William Addis was the first to sell toothbrushes on a large scale. He got the idea after making a toothbrush from bone and animal bristles while in prison.

Before modern-day toothpaste was created, pharmacists mixed and sold tooth cream or powder. Early tooth powders were made from something abrasive, like talc or crushed seashells, mixed with essential oils, such as eucalyptus or camphor, thought to fight germs. Their flavors came from oils of cinnamon, clove, rose or peppermint. Many contain other chemicals such as ammonia, chlorophyll, and penicillin. These ingredients fight the acid-producing bacteria that can cause tooth decay and bad breath.

By the 1900s, children of immigrants to the U.S. were taught oral hygiene as a way to help “Americanize” them and their families. Factories examined and cleaned their workers’ teeth to keep them from missing work due to toothaches.

Daily tooth brushing became more common thanks to World War II when the American army required soldiers to brush their teeth as part of their daily hygiene practices. The first nylon toothbrush was made in 1938, followed by the electric toothbrush in the 1960s.

Nowadays, there are dozens of kinds of tools and potions to help keep your mouth healthy. As a professor of dental hygiene, I believe it’s most important to clean your mouth daily, no matter how you choose to do so. Well, maybe stay away from the urine mouthwash.

Source: https://www.snopes.com/ap/2019/07/27/how-did-people-clean-their-teeth-in-the-olden-days/

Sealants: Stop Cavities Before They Begin

Aside from proper brushing and flossing to remove food particles and plaque from smooth surfaces of teeth, do you know that there are other effective ways that can prevent tooth decay?

👉 With sealants, you can prevent cavities for up to a decade before they ever have a chance to start. Find out more! The Woodview Oral Surgery Team

Imagine you could protect your smile and preserve good oral health. Would you do it? In all likelihood the answer is yes and, with sealants, you can.

Few oral issues can be fully pre-empted or prevented. After all, genetics and other factors can play a role in whether or not you develop cavities or more serious dental complications. But with sealants, you can prevent cavities for up to a decade before they ever have a chance to start.

What Are Sealants?

Sealants are thin, plastic coatings that are painted on the chewing surfaces of teeth, particularly premolars and molars, to prevent tooth decay. By bonding to the depressions and grooves of teeth where most cavities begin, they can prevent tooth decay in a way that regular brushing, flossing, and rinsing can’t.

Most often, sealants are used on children between the ages of 6 and 14 because this is when they are most vulnerable to cavities. Sealants can also be used on adults who don’t have current decay or fillings in their molars and on babies with deep depressions and grooves in teeth to preserve them as placeholders for adult teeth. Of course, sealants must be made age-appropriate and tailored to each patient’s unique needs.

Applying Sealants is Quick and Painless for Most

The best part about sealants is that the application process is quick and painless. In fact, there are just four simple steps involved in the entire process:

  • Cleaning – Prior to applying sealants, your dentist will clean each tooth that is being sealed to ensure the bond is as strong as possible.
  • Preparation – Once your teeth are clean, they will be dried and surrounded by cotton or another absorbent material to prevent saliva from getting the tooth wet again. An acid solution will also be applied to enhance the bond between the sealants and your teeth.
  • Rising and Drying – After the acid solution has been applied, just one more rinse and dry is required before the actual application.
  • Application of the Sealants – After all the preparation is complete, the sealants will be applied. In some cases, your dentist will use a special curing light to help sealants to harden more quickly.

Sealants Can Stand the Test of Time for Most

Few dental solutions are permanent and sealants are no different. However, they can provide up to 10 years of protection, which is great for babies, young children, and adults.

Regular dental visits are the best way to prolong the effectiveness of your treatment. Your dentist can check your sealants for chipping or wearing and replace them if necessary. By replacing them soon after they begin to wear down, you can enjoy continued protection from cavities.

With Sealants, You Can Keep Your Smile Both Beautiful and Functional

Sealants are a simple solution to prevent cavities and protect some of the most functional teeth in your mouth. They can be a worthwhile investment for you and/or your children to keep smiles looking great for years to come.

Sources: Dental Health: Sealants. (2013, April 14). Retrieved June 2, 2015 from http://www.webmd.com/oral-health/guide/dental-sealants