Drinking carbonated soft drinks regularly can contribute to the erosion of tooth enamel surfaces, according to the Academy of General Dentistry.
Soft drinks, which contain sticky sugars that break down into acids, adhere easily to tooth surfaces. These acids can soften tooth substance and promote formation of plaque, which erodes the enamel. Enamel breakdown leads to cavities. If erosion spreads beneath the enamel into the dentin, pain and sensitivity may result, usually a precursor to nerve infection which can result in root canal surgery.
Because saliva helps neutralize acids and wash your teeth clean, the worst time to drink soda pop, ironically, is when you are very thirsty or dehydrated due to low levels of saliva. "The larger the volume of intake, the more impact soda pop has on your teeth," says Gordon Isbell, III, DDS, MAGD, a spokesdentist for the Academy of General Dentistry. "Diet sodas are part of the problem. Women especially like to drink them throughout the day and between meals because they have no calories, yet the higher frequency and volume is putting their teeth at risk."
Try to drink soda pop only with a full meal, and be sure to brush and floss soon after drinking and/or eating. Also, resolve to quench your thirst with water, a healthier alternative to soft drinks and sports beverages. And if you drink pop alone or between meals, chew sugarless gum afterward to increase your saliva flow.