As summer’s heat waves are around the corner, we often grab a soft drink or sports drink when we’re thirsty. Did you know the beverage you choose can impact your dental health?

According to the Mississippi State Department of Health, carbonation, sugar, and acids in soda can weaken tooth enamel and encourage the growth of bacteria, which contributes to tooth decay.

What happens when you drink a soda? Sugar combines with your mouth’s bacteria to form acid, which combined with extra acids from the beverage attacks your teeth. The effect lasts for about twenty minutes and each sip starts the process over again.

Ongoing exposure to acid weakens tooth enamel. Cavities may begin when the tooth enamel is eroded.

Is diet soda better? Artificially sweetened sodas still contain acid, which can harm your teeth. Non-carbonated fruit drinks still have acid and sugar, which may cause decay.

What can you do to reduce the risk? Drink carbonated soft drinks in moderation. When you do drink a soda, use a straw to keep sugar away from teeth. Rinse your mouth with water or brush soon after drinking soda.

Don’t forget to get regular dental checkups and cleanings!