Expert Tips for Healthy Teeth & Breaking a Soda Addiction

Having a big, healthy smile is an important part of your overall well-being. While there are certain behaviors such as regular brushing and flossing that help maintain that smile over time, certain habits ruin the enamel and stain your teeth. Drinking soda daily is a habit that can wreak havoc on your teeth and your waistline. We talked to ten influential dietitians and nutritional experts to get their top tips for breaking a soda addiction.

At Dolley Madison Dentistry, we wholeheartedly support any approach that works for you to keep those pearly whites, well, pearly white!

DMD nancy popkin

"Allow yourself one soda a day at the time that is most crucial for you to have the caffeine or sugar rush. Fill a glass with ice, pour soda over it. That's your soda. The ice takes up lots of room and melts to dilute the soda. That's all you get. Gradually reduce the amount of soda. So if you start with a tall glass, switch to a short glass. Eventually replace the soda with club soda/seltzer, tea, coffee or water."

DMD alexandra napoli

"Every time you want a soda, run around the block, do 50 jumping jacks, or just go for a walk. The rush of exercised endorphins will help you forget you ever wanted the soda. Then when you're thirsty from working out, enjoy a glass of water."

DMD mike clancy

"Start by pouring only 75% of the soda in a glass and filling the remaining 25% with water. Once you become accustom to that taste, bump it up to a 50/50 split. Eventually, the light taste will become normal to your taste buds, yet you’ll experience all the benefits of an increased water intake."

DMD pamela bonney

"The trick here is to re-train your taste buds and wean a soda lover off the concentrated sweet flavor of soda (and the bubbles, and possibly the caffeine) gradually, if you can't go cold-turkey."

DMD teresa bar santi

"One thing we've learned about changing habits is that slow and steady wins the race. Don't try to stop cold turkey. Instead ease off slowly. Start by choosing a specific time of day to replace one soda with something healthier like plain water, water with lemon, or flavor you water with an herbal tea bag (licorice or mint teas are my favorite). Stay with the same time of day every day until it's feels normal for you (should be 1-2 weeks). Once you're comfortable with that, choose another time of day to replace your soda. Keep repeating the process until you've kicked that habit completely."

DMD monica amsterdam

"Soda, especially diet soda, can be very difficult to quit. It can take your body up to one month to fully recover from the addiction and need. The first step is to go cold turkey. For some it can be hard, so I recommend making your own healthy version. Put 1/3 part orange juice to 2/3 seltzer water – this has the same taste as soda. It can also be done with tart cherry juice (1 tablespoon in 12 oz seltzer water). The goal is to eventually feel satisfied drinking fruit infused water (like strawberry, lemon and basil)."

DMD carol frazey

"Promise yourself that on Friday evening, you will sit down with your soda, put it in a nice cold glass, sit on your deck, and truly enjoy the flavor, carbonation, and coldness in your hands. Be totally present and totally enjoy!"

DMD barry sears

"Just saying don't drink soda is not going to work. So you have to use some stealth technology. One idea is to always take a apple with you. Before you have a soda, eat the apple first. You will be surprised at how quickly the desire for the soda (or at least a lesser quantity of it) will wane."

DMD edwina clark

"Identify when you’re most likely to splurge on soda and come up with a few alternatives for each scenario. For some, soda is a work day habit. For others, it’s sports games and summer BBQs that leave you reaching for all things fizzy. Identify your weak spots, and plan accordingly."

DMD alyssa cellini

"I have my soda-loving clients make this recipe to get them over the hump:

8 oz cold club soda,
1 packet "true lemon" (any flavor),
1 drop liquid stevia.

It gives the Sprite like taste without the calories, glycemic effect, or addictive sugar."