Healthy teeth as easy as "kicking the can"

(Photo illustration by Airman 1st Class Christopher Williams) (Released)

(Photo illustration by Airman 1st Class Christopher Williams) (Released)

HURLBURT FIELD, Fla. -- It's a new year, and that means many of us will make resolutions to drop some of our bad habits and be healthier. But how often do you think of cutting back on soda?

Acids and sugar by-products in soda can actually cause damage to your teeth and other negative effects on your oral health. 

First, they can cause staining and discoloration. By repeatedly drinking dark, yellow or orange soda, your teeth will begin to take on the less-than-attractive color of the soda. 

Second, it can also cause the enamel to become weak and may lead to sensitivity and discomfort over time. 

Third, soda can also lead to cavities. In some extreme cases, it can cause your teeth to become damaged beyond repair and even potential tooth loss.

However, there are some easy at-home ways to keep good oral health.

Substitute soda for drinks that contain less sugar and acids like water, milk or 100 percent real fruit juice.

After finishing a soda, take a sip of water and swish it around your mouth. This decreases the exposure time of the soda's acids on the tooth enamel.

Use toothpaste and mouth rinses that contain fluoride, but please make sure to get professionally-applied fluoride treatments.

You can take these steps to avoid these unintended consequences, but the key to enjoying soft drinks and preserving your oral health is moderation.

So the next time you go to grab a soda, make it a resolution to have healthier teeth and remember that a beautiful smile is worth a thousand words.