Health & Safety

April 5, 2013

Stop the pop, sugar Be smart, protect pearly whites from acid

Senior Airman PAMELA GRIFFIN
56th Dental Squadron

Enamel is the hardest substance in the body and protects the crowns of the teeth; however, it is susceptible to demineralization from acids. Acids are produced when bacteria colonize the tooth surface and metabolize carbohydrates. If this process continues, it may eventually lead to carious lesions, known as cavities, in the enamel and dentin. Soda pop is one of the most significant dietary sources of acid capable of producing demineralization of the enamel.

One of the problems with the increase of soda pop consumption is that it leads people to drink less milk resulting in higher incidences of demineralization and cavities. Regular consumption of milk bathes the teeth in calcium and calcium lactate promotes remineralization to prevent the decalcification and erosion caused by soda pop.

Some people have poor habits involving the intake of soda pop. For example, some people hold soda pop in their mouth allowing it to bathe their teeth. Some may even swish the soda pop around for several seconds before swallowing. The reason for this is that the carbonation from the soda pop produces a pleasure sensation. This can lead to excessive erosion of particular teeth in certain areas.

Increasing a person’s exposure to fluorides is one way of fixing the demineralizing effect of soda pop. When people come for a scheduled dental cleaning, fluoride should be applied in relatively high doses by the dental technician as prescribed by the dentist. At home, people should use a fluoride toothpaste and mouth rinse as part of their regular homecare routine.

The obvious solution to prevent demineralization is to reduce or quit soda consumption all together.

Oral hygiene is important. Brush at least two times a day and floss once daily. Teeth are one of the few things that cannot regenerate. Take care of your teeth today and avoid painful dental work in the future.




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