This Picture of Decayed Teeth Will Have You Reconsidering Sugary, Carbonated Drinks

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In what can only be described as “viral dental decay,” a picture of the damage Prosecco and other carbonated drinks can do to teeth is making the rounds, and the Internet is floored.

Calling it the “triple whammy of acidic bubbles, alcohol and sugar,” the DailyMail reports that in a test done by the Oral Health Foundation, when healthy human teeth are soaked in the bubbly stuff, the effect on enamel is “incredibly damaging” and results in the tooth turning into an almost “chalk-like powder.” 

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“The combination of acid, carbonation and sugar really is a triple threat,” warns New York cosmetic dentist Irene Grafman, DDS. “It eats away the main components of enamel, calcium phosphate and hydroxyapatite.”

While Dr. Grafman says enamel does have the ability to regenerate and rebuild, it can only do so in a healthy environment. “When we drink or eat acidic, high sugar foods it actually starts the breakdown of enamel process called demineralization. When the breakdown occurs at a faster rate than the enamel is able to regenerate itself, that is when the tooth becomes susceptible to cavities.”

But that doesn’t mean you have to completely banish the bubbles. 

“Yes, increased acidity, high sugar content and carbonation are all known to damage teeth,” says Austin, TX, cosmetic dentist Elizabeth L. Lowery, DDS. “Subjecting teeth to any acidic, carbonated, sugary drink for a prolonged period of time can be detrimental to teeth, but the occasional indulgence is OK.”

The advice Dr. Grafman tells her patients: “If you are going to indulge in any of these high sugar, acidic beverages follow these steps: Drink some water after to wash away some of the sugar and neutralize the acidity in the mouth. Chew on some Xylitol-containing mints or gum. Do not brush your teeth immediately after drinking these beverages—it’s important to give your mouth and saliva time to neutralize some of the acidity, otherwise you will abrade more of the already-weakened enamel.”

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