We all know someone who always has that can or bottle of soda on hand at all times... maybe it's you!
Well, it turns out, sipping one beverage (even a diet drink) may be much worse for your teeth than drinking numerous beverages through the day, that you drink right down.
It's the sipping that gets us into trouble!
Here is some fantastic information to help you choose a better beverage option!
First, we all know that drinks like Coke, Mountain Dew, Gatorade and Bottled Sweet Teas are full of sugar. But did you know the "tooth killer" is probably not the sugar?
Soda, Pop, Cola, Soft Drinks, Sports Drinks, Energy Drinks, Bottled Teas or Juices – whatever you call them, they are BAD news for your enamel because of the 2nd or 3rd ingredient on the label: acid.
Almost every bottled drink you can find in a convenient store contains some sort of acid to give it that tangy taste we all like. Take a look at your label next time. You'll probably find Carbonic Acid, Phosphoric Acid or Citric Acid on the list there. Consuming these drinks lowers the healthy pH level of your mouth to about the same as vinegar (pH of 1.7), making it so acidic that your teeth slowly soften. This creates the ideal environment for the bacteria in your mouth to then use the sugars to attack the hard, protective outer layer of the teeth called enamel.
Basically... drinking most bottled beverages softens your enamel, so even if you drink diet drinks (with no sugar) you are still at a much greater risk to decay!
Want to see what sipping beverages all day can do to your teeth?
The following photo is the BEFORE/AFTER picture I took when I recently repaired a young woman's teeth who was an avid drinker of a common bottled iced tea (diet) drink. You can see in her before picture, her teeth are thinning, chipping and discoloring. (She was only 29 years old!)
And in the after photo, I've used my art background to completely restore her smile, affordably, with a procedure called "cosmetic bonding." It's a great repair, but she will always have to worry about the cosmetic bonding breaking if she uses her teeth for tools. It's far better just to avoid allowing your teeth to need that much plastic to repair them!
We know it's a hard habit to break! For the love of your teeth, you've got to try!
We hear from a lot of our adult patients, that drinking soft drinks, especially diet soda, is their replacement for coffee - they use the caffeine for a boost throughout the day. It's a tough problem, so here are some Do's and Dont's to help you kick the habit...
- Avoid Sipping anything but plain water all day.
- Nothing acidic before bed. The LAST thing that touches your teeth before bed will stay in your mouth all night because your saliva stops flowing when you sleep. So nothing but water before bed and if you put something by the bedside to sip at night.
- If you just have to have an acid containing beverage, drink it with a straw. – you limit the contact the acids will have on the teeth by allowing the soda to go directly down the hatch!
- Swish with plain water after an acidic drink. Pain water help to get rid of sugars left on the teeth and brings the pH of your mouth back to neutral quicker.
Here's a link to a great article on the LIVE STRONG website
(With lots more about the science of pH and acidity)
So let's get to the heart of the matter: What's the pH (acidity) of our favorites?
You might not find your exact choice on this short list, but look for something like it. For instance, if you think you are off the hook because you like fruit juices, check out the pH of Minute Made Orange Juice. And bottled iced tea lovers can compare to Lemon Nestea - Yikes! pH of 2.97! How about diet coke at 3.03? Bad news for diet soda drinkers.
Remember that statement at the top of the chart: Tooth enamel starts to dissolve below 5.5 pH...
Oh,.. and here's something surprising!
Here's a list for the people who would never touch a soda, but may think their "health drinks" are not a problem for teeth:
Dr. Lynda's Bottom-line:
It's a very boring beverage landscape if you want to protect your teeth from acids. Drink plain water and spice things up with a solid chocolate milk from time to time!
Want more science: We found a really interesting study...
on BioHealthScience.org, showing the comparison of the detrimental effects on the oral cavity of a soda abuser versus a methamphetamine abuser! It's worth a look!
Here are some Soda STATS...
According to BeyondtheBasicsHealthAcademy; "The concerns with regular soda and increased sugar consumption are known because they have been shown to increase specific health issues such as chronic inflammation, obesity, Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and even certain cancer."
“Soft drink consumption in the United States has increased dramatically across all demographic groups, especially among children and teenagers. The problem is so severe that health authorities such as the American Academy of Pediatrics have begun sounding the alarm about the dangers.” – Colgate Oral Care Center.
A case completed by the US National Library of Medicine, NCBI, confirmed the correlation between frequent soda consumption and tooth decay.