What is the Safest Soda for your Teeth?

By Dr. Elizabeth Fleming
December 31, 2013
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Root Beer: The “Safest” Soft Drink For Teeth

Exposing teeth to soft drinks, even for a short period of time, causes dental erosion—and prolonged exposure can lead to significant enamel loss. Root beer products, however, are non-carbonated and do not contain the acids that harm teeth, according to a study in the Journal of General Dentistry.  That might be something to consider during the next visit to the grocery store.

Consumers often consider soft drinks to be harmless, believing that the only concern is sugar content. Most choose to consume “diet” drinks to alleviate this concern. However, diet soft drinks contain phosphoric acid and/or citric acid and still cause dental erosion—though considerably less than their sugared counterparts.

“Drinking any of the soft drink brands poses risk to the health of your teeth,” says AGD spokesperson Kenton Ross, DMD, FAGD. Dr. Ross recommends that patients consume fewer soft drinks by limiting their intake to meals. He also advises patients to drink with a straw, which will reduce soda’s contact with teeth.

Root Beer

“My patients are shocked to hear that many of the soft drinks they consume [contain substances akin to] battery acid,” Dr. Ross explains. For example, one type of cola ranked 2.39 on the acid scale, compared to battery acid which is 1.0.

Researchers concluded that non-colas (Sprite, 7-Up, etc) cause a greater amount of erosion than colas. Citric acid is the predominant acid in non-cola drinks and is a major factor in why non-cola drinks are especially erosive. There is a significant difference between sugared and diet colas.

“The bottom line,” Dr. Ross stresses, “is that the acidity in all soft drinks is enough to damage your teeth and should be avoided.”

What is dental erosion?

  • Dental erosion involves loss of tooth structure.
  • Erosion refers to the action of the acid on the entire tooth surface.

Dental Erosion

Dental erosion and dental cavities are not exactly the same. Cavities and tooth decay tend to be isolated to cavity-prone areas such as in between teeth and in pits and grooves.

Article courtesy of Dr. Todd Welch

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