Here's the #1 Most Harmful Thing for Your Teeth

Dr. Kyle Hornby

Hi, my name is Kyle Hornby and I am a Kitchener Dentist. Every week, I come up with a few articles to help answer common patient questions about dental health and treatment. My goal? It's simple: I want to raise the bar on dental health knowledge available to the public. All of this so that you can feel better while spending less time and money on Dental Procedures.

This week, I'd like to talk about things that harm your teeth. So, what's the most destructive thing for tooth enamel?

Soda Pop and Cavities

Drinks like Colas and other carbonated offerings typically contain 30 - 40g of sugar per can (about 355mL). This is a ton of sugar. Couple this with the fact that many of these drinks are highly acidic and you have a recipe for tooth destruction.

Colas and other Soda Pop have a pH in the 2.0 - 3.0 range. This is over 10,000 times as acidic as tap water. This acid erodes your tooth enamel and dentin causing rapid and widespread cavity formation.

How can you Protect your teeth from Cola-related tooth decay?

Well, this may sound obvious to you but minimizing intake of Colas and other Soda Pop beverages (or avoiding them altogether) will save you both time and money at the Dentist. If you have 1 Cola each month, it may not have much of a negative effect but once you get into the 2-3 per week range, you may be doing lots of damage to your teeth.

Now, tooth decay is really mathematical. There are positive (+ factors) and negative (- factors) that relate to strengthening and weakening tooth enamel, respectively. When you add all the factors together you can have 3 types of environments in the mouth: balanced, strengthening (RE-MINERALIZING), and weakening (DE-MINERALIZING). If you drink enough Cola, you'll create a DE-MINERALIZING environment and develop lots of cavities.

Are there things you can do to try and partially offset the destructive effect of Cola consumption?

There are lots of things that help to re-mineralize and strengthen teeth. Fluoride in toothpaste and drinking water is one of those things. High-fluoride toothpastes like Colgate Prevadent can help to offset foods and drinks that cause tooth decay. Brushing and rinsing after Cola consumption will help to limit the amount of time its sugar and acid stays in contact with your teeth.

Even if you just swish water and spit after drinking pop it will help. Your goal is to clear as much leftover carbohydrate from around your teeth as is possible.

Consuming dental probiotics can also help to offset the harmful effects of pop consumption. By chewing probiotic gum, you can gradually decrease levels of harmful bacteria in the mouth, the very same strains that use carbohydrates as fuel to cause tooth decay. You can find dental probiotics at your local Health Food Store.


Colas and Soda Pops can really wreak havoc on your tooth enamel causing cavities. Widespread tooth decay requires repair with dental fillings and this costs you large amounts of both time and money. Avoiding Colas can make a big difference in terms of avoiding tooth decay. There are also helpful factors that can minimize or offset factors that cause decay. Importantly, regular dental cleanings and checkups allow your Kitchener-Waterloo Dentist to monitor the long-term stability of your teeth.

Enjoy a fresh start.
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