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Pop cavities

Ice cold, delicious and full of acid. Also sugar.

It’s like this…drinking a lot of pop can cause cavities. The more pop you drink, and the slower you drink it, the greater your chances of getting cavities.

I’ve written about this before. A lot, actually. In fact, many of my patients get sick of me telling them about it. But hey…I’m a doctor. I’ll bet diabetics get tired of hearing their physician tell them that they need to lay off the M&M’s and donuts, too.

I recently examined a patient who admitted to being a serious on-the-job pop drinker. He told me with no prompting that he was done with pop. He didn’t like how it made his teeth look. So, of course, I took a picture.

"pop cavities" (click to enlarge)

He had a few things going on that are classic for pop drinkers:

  • front teeth: He had quite a few cavities, but they were limited mostly to his upper front teeth. If you think about it, that kind of makes sense. When you sip a highly acidic and sugary beverage what does it hit first? Your upper front teeth. So that’s where the acid and sugar starts to work.
  • “white spot” lesions: This is the chalky, white spotting that you can see on tooth enamel that has been partially dissolved by acid. The good news about white spot lesions is that with some intensive fluoride treatment they can be reversed. However, continued acid and sugar will cause a white spot lesion to turn into a…
  • “pop cavities:” That’s just what I call them. This is the yellowish-brownish hole you can see once the acid has really broken through the enamel of your tooth. The second layer is darker colored and much more susceptible to the acid. Once you lose your enamel, that tooth is a much greater risk to form a pop cavity.
So what can you do if you like your pop so much that you don’t want to stop? I have a couple suggestions:

So, are you a pop drinker? You ought to check out your front teeth in a mirror. Or, better yet, come in the office and let us take some photos. We can take a look at them together on the iPad and see if you’ve got any “pop cavities.”

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If you’re looking for a dentist in Saginaw, we’re always happy to accept new patients! You can request an appointment online or call the office at (989) 799-9133. And, as always, you can email me at alan@meadfamilydental.com. I always answer my own emails!