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The "Sometimes" Soda: How to Drink Pop and Still Keep White Teeth

Posted on Jun 11, 2012 by DentalVibe
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Soft drinks take a hard toll on your body... not just your teeth, but your whole body. Studies link regular soda consumption with weight gain, obesity, diabetes, kidney damage, heart attacks, increased stroke risk, acid reflux disease, and certain types of cancer... just to name a few. And on top of all that, yes, soda stains your teeth.

Still, soda persists as a societal constant. Pop is here to stay. Many doctors say that doesn't have to be a bad thing, so long as healthy people commit to drinking it in moderation. Even the occasional soda, however, can have a yellowing effect on your teeth. 

If you're one of the millions who enjoy a nice, cold Coke every now and then, fret not! You don't have to sacrifice healthy teeth for a sweet treat. Follow these three "Sometimes-Soda" Clean Teeth Tips instead!

Clean Teeth Tip #1: Sip Your Soda with a Straw

When you open a soda, sustain your smile by choosing to sip through a straw. True, straws won't do much to combat all the other effects of soft drinks. You won't lose weight, cut down on acid, or protect your organs by using one. Excessive intake of refined sugars can lead to other problems with your teeth and gums too, so a straw isn't even a cure-all for every dental woe. But as far as the specific problem of yellowing teeth is concerned, the straw will work. 

You see, it's the actual contact of the dark, acidic, corrosive soda against your teeth that rips away at their protective enamel. When you sip through a straw, you funnel the liquid to the back of your mouth and throat, bypassing the teeth and gums altogether. No contact, no stain. Straws are cheap and sometimes even come in fun color packs. Pick some up and carry them in your purse, vehicle dashboard, or briefcase. Never fall victim to soda stain again!

Clean Teeth Tip #2: Don't Give Your Teeth a Beverage Bath

There's something about a delicious beverage that makes us just want to swish it all over. Soda, juice, coffee... if it's scrumptiously sweet, we swish it! As though compelled to savor the sugar, we soak our mouths with as much of the tasty stuff as we can and slowly drink it down, our teeth awash in dark-colored foam and fizz. 

Your teeth don't need a beverage bath! Believe it or not, a thorough toothpaste scrubbing is much more to their liking. When you send them swimming in syrupy soda and juice... or coat them in coffee... you're setting yourself up for a dingy smile. 

The beverage bath is a simple pitfall to avoid. It's just a matter of habit. Swishing drinks is an easy trap to fall into but also a fairly easy one to climb out of. Just take the no-swish pledge: "drinks are for sipping, not swishing." (Note: depending on how you feel about fluoride, you might not apply this pledge to the colored swish that many of us remember from elementary school). 

You already know that sipping soda with a straw can help ameliorate its yellowing impact. That goes for juice too. And if you drink them iced, straws work for coffee and tea as well. But there will be times when you don't have a straw, or your drink of choice isn't really straw-appropriate. Beer, for example, can stain teeth, but you might hesitate to stick a straw down the bottle neck at your next neighborhood barbecue. 

The easiest way to break the bath habit is to simply commit now to resisting the urge for a beverage bath every time you put a drink to your lips... especially the dark ones!

Clean Teeth Tip #3: Use The Tooth-Friendly Soda: Baking Soda

Get this: while most soft drinks are sure to stain, there's one soda that is not only stainless, it can actually whiten your teeth: baking soda!

Not what you had in mind? Okay, maybe baking soda isn't exactly a replacement for "real" soda. You certainly shouldn't drink it! But you can brush with it, and it will go a long way in counteracting the adverse effects of drinking too much pop. 

Baking soda actually lightens dental stains while also cleaning the teeth themselves. The baking soda penetrates your enamel to treat the stains. It's the most cost-effective and organic form of teeth whitening around. 

Brushing with baking soda is easy to do. You can dissolve the soda in water and use the solution to brush, or you can create a paste by mixing soda with hydrogen peroxide and then brush with that (Jeansonne, Nicki, "Does Brushing Your Teeth With Baking Soda Make Them Whiter?.", 12/20/11. Web.). Of course, you should talk with your dentist before you start brushing with baking soda. 

You don't have to cut soda out of your life all together... not even the "real" kind. Just be sensible about it. Enjoy soft drinks only in moderation. And on those rare occasions when a bubbly sip of pop feels just right, follow these simple steps for keeping your teeth clean. Drink soda sometimes but suffer stains never! 

Do You Tend to Swish Soda When You Drink? Have You Ever Used a Straw for Soda in Glass Bottles or Aluminum Cans to Protect Your Teeth?

Comments (1)

  1. Austin pediatric dentists:
    Aug 15, 2012 at 09:40 AM

    Thank you for your post. I do love soda and it has already become part of my daily routine. I do not let a day pass without drinking a soda after meals, or during meals. I will also admit that I am one of those who love to swish the soda in my mouth. Do you not love the bubbly effect it does? However, after I read this blog, I am going to change my ways. Thank you.

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