Study Confirms Soft Drinks Permanently Destroy Tooth Enamel and Suprisingly Non-Cola Varieties Are The Worst!

A study appearing in the July/August 2004 issue of “General Dentistry” found that over time, soft drinks, especially light colored non-colas and canned iced tea weaken and permanently destroy tooth enamel. Reseacher J. Anthony von Fraunhofer, MS, PhD, FADM, FRSC with the University of Maryland Baltimore Dental School reported that surprisingly, non-colas and canned iced tea were especially harmful.

  • The results showed that light colored non-cola soft drinks like Sprite, Mountain Dew, Canada Dry Ginger Ale and Arizona Iced Tea caused two to five times the damage as darker drinks such as Coke, Pepsi, and Dr. Pepper.
  • Tap water, root beer, brewed black tea, and black coffee all showed minimal enamel damage.
  • Canned iced tea caused 30 times the enamel damage as brewed tea or coffee.
  • Non-cola drinks cause up to 180 times more tooth enamel damage than did water.
  • Root beer was the safest soft drink tested because it contains the least amount of flavor additives.
  • Both diet and regular sodas had the same bad effect on tooth enamel.

A typical 12 ounce can of soda contains approximately 10 teaspoons of sugar. Ouch! It seems while sugar is a definitive cause of tooth decay there are even other culprits at work. Flavor additives such as malic, tartaric and other organic acids are also aggressive at eroding teeth. During the ingestion of acidic liquids, the ph in the mouth is lowered and the acid begins to attack the tooth enamel. If these attacks are continuous or too close together your teeth cannot remineralize or rebuild themselves and tooth decay will eventually occur.

The best advice would be to stop drinking soft drinks altogether, although this is probably unrealistic considering soft drinks are so ingrained in our culture. The National Soft Drink Association says that 95 percent of Americans drink soda and 27 percent of overall beverage consumption is soda.

As with everything else, moderation is the key. If you like to drink soft drinks do so in limited quantities and as a brief refreshment. Reseacher von Fraunhofer says that, “Soda consumed at meal times is less injurious than when consumed alone and continuous sipping is more harmful than the whole drink taken at one time.” Also, soda drinkers should rinse their mouths out with water after drinking in order to neutralize the acids and sugar. If appropriate, the best thing would be to brush your teeth.

Keep in mind the scope of this article is only to show the negative effects of soft drinks in relation to teeth. There are many other health related issues that are made worse by drinking too much soda such as obesity and diabetes. Children who drink too much soda are also missing out on all the protein, calcium and other nutrients that they would get from equal servings of milk. The moral of this story is to keep the use of soft drinks to a minimum.

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