Did you know almost half of all Americans drink soda every day? Whether you sip diet soda with your lunchtime salad or guzzle an XL Coke at the movies, you probably know soft drinks aren’t the healthiest way to quench your thirst.

But, did you know, soda, both regular and sugar free, can cause harm to your teeth?

Soft drink consumption has become one of the most significant sources of tooth decay in people in both children and adults. The acids and sugary byproducts of soda soften the tooth’s enamel, which may increase cavities. Softer enamel, combined with improper brushing and grinding of teeth an lead to tooth loss.

The sugar in regular soda is also a source of food for bacteria. When bacteria multiplies rapidly, acid is secreted, which dissolves tooth enamel.

What about diet soda? Regular consumption of diet soda also erodes the tooth’s enamel. Both regular and diet soda contain citric acid and phosphorous acid. Prolonged exposure can lead to significant enamel loss.

Does this mean you need to give up that icy cold Coke at a baseball game? Follow up soda with a rinse of water or brush your teeth. Better yet, replace soda with a tall glass of water!