Nearly everyone enjoys a soft drink of some type once in a while, but dentists recommend you monitor how much you drink – and how you consume it – to help protect your dental health. Research has found that drinks with a high acidic content – such as soda, apple juice and sports drinks – can contribute to dental erosion.

A study conducted at the University of Iowa in 2006 exposed extracted teeth to five popular beverages for a period of 25 hours. At the end, the scientists noted symptoms of erosion to the root surfaces of the teeth. Meanwhile, research conducted earlier this year and published in the journal General Dentistry linked energy drinks to an even higher level of erosion than sodas.

The Academy of General Dentistry recommends that people who want to protect their dental health should use a straw when enjoying sodas or energy drinks, to avoid the acid making contact with the teeth. Meanwhile, since saliva helps neutralize and dilute acid, it is better to consume sodas and energy drinks as part of a meal, when saliva production is high.