A Movie Date With Cavities: Why Drinking Soda at the Movies Causes Cavities

Are you planning to go catch the latest flick at your local cinema, perhaps with a date in tow? Perhaps you'll share a bucket of popcorn and a jumbo-sized soft drink together as you watch the movie. It's a long-held tradition, the movie date. However, as romantic as movie dates are, when you sip a soda throughout the movie, and share one, unlike you, your teeth are suffering.

What tends to happen during a movie is that you sip the soft drink slowly. After all, you don't want to be running to the toilet every 20 minutes. However, drinking a soda slowly is like inviting a microscopic army of archaeologists into your mouth for an hour or two.

By the time you finally get round to brushing your teeth later, your teeth will have been damaged in three ways:

Phosphoric Acid Erodes Enamel

The saliva in a healthy human mouth should have a pH of around 7. A pH of 7 is considered neutral and can be compared to the pH of the natural water found in a spring. Anything below 7 is acidic. The average pH of a soft drink such as cola is about 3. In other words, soft drinks are highly acidic. They contain phosphoric and citric acid, both of which erode enamel.

However, if you drink a can of soft drink quickly, several times a week, the damage to your enamel will be minimal. Drinking a soft drink at the cinema is a different matter. If the movie is 1.5 hours long and you sip your soft drink for the movie's entirety, you have essentially bathed your teeth in acid for 1.5 hours.

Sugar Bloated Bacteria Cause Tooth Decay

Now, for the double whammy. Bacteria also produce acid. They produce acid whenever they metabolize the basic sugars in the food you eat. Normally, as long as you brush and floss twice a day, your teeth are fairly safe from bacteria.

However, if you bathe your teeth in sugar for an hour or two while at the movies, and then don't brush for several hours more, well, the bacteria in your mouth will be in acid heaven. As they enjoy the sugars on your teeth, they will produce their own acid, and this acid will add to that of the soft drink. A double dose of acid erosion, or in the case of bacteria, tooth decay.

Carmel, a Dye, Causes Staining

Some soft drinks contain caramel dye. Carmel dye is used give colas their colour. If your teeth, which are porous, are exposed to this dye for over an hour, the staining particles in the dye will work their way into your teeth, causing stains.

So you see. A trip to the movies could essentially be a date with cavities—unless you drink the soft drink quickly, or, choose to drink water instead. Contact a local dentist for more information and assistance.