What Dentists Say...
How You Get Cavities
- Sugar* in soda pop combines with bacteria in your mouth to form acid.
- Diet or "sugar-free" soda pop contains its own acid.
- Acid in soft drinks, whether they contain sugar or not, is the primary cause of weakening tooth enamel.
- The acid attacks your teeth. Each acid attack lasts about 20 minutes.
- Ongoing acid attacks weaken your tooth enamel.
- Bacteria in your mouth cause cavities when tooth enamel is damaged.
- If you have a receding gum line, acid does more damage below the gum line than above it. This is particularly a concern for adults.
*Sugar, as used here, refers to high-fructose corn syrup in most non-diet beverages.
About Sipping All Day
"I can spot frequent pop drinkers easily by looking at their teeth."
"I had a 16-year-old patient with 30 severe cavities. He admitted he drank two Mountain Dews for breakfast, drank one on the bus, and then had four to five at school. He figured he drank 10 to 12 pops a day and said he can't stop."
"Sweetened soda is to teeth as cigarettes are to lungs."
"Athletes are especially prone to erosion from soft drinks because they drink them frequently to maintain hydration."
View a Chart Showing the Sugar & Acid in Soft Drinks (.pdf)