We speak often of soft drinks’ double health whammy in terms of rising obesity and type2 diabetes rates. But lest you have forgotten, soft drinks and tooth decay have a unique way of destroying your pearly whites—and emptying your wallet on dentist bills as well.
After the shock and awe of learning that a single 20 oz. bottle of Mountain Dew can contain as many as 19½ cubes of white sugar (and 40% more caffeine than Coke), most of us worry about our pancreas. But long before it hits your bloodstream, sugar is beloved by the bacteria in your mouth, says Elle Paula in Livestrong.com:
Your teeth and gums are covered by a sticky layer of bacteria better known as ‘plaque.’ Bacteria feed off sugar, which is plentiful in a can of soda. When bacteria come into contact with soda in the mouth, they start metabolizing the sugar and create acids as byproducts. These acids attack the tooth structure and enamel for at least 20 minutes, increasing your risk of tooth decay. Every time you take a sip of soda, this 20-minute acid attack starts over.”
“But I drink diet sodas!” protest the millions who fear calories--AND tooth decay.
Well, look in the mirror at your teeth alongside a crack addict (OK, just kidding...morbidly kidding) and see how you feel about diet drinks. Most sodas contain phosphoric acid and citric acid, and a study published in General Dentistry in 2013 says...
Researchers reported that the damage done to the tooth structure from excessive consumption of diet soda was similar to the damage caused by heavy drug use.”
Of course there is a naysayer. The American Beverage Association disputed the study's claims, telling HealthDay in a statement that "the body of available science does not support that beverages are a unique factor in causing tooth decay or erosion," and to imply that diet soda consumption caused the woman's tooth erosion "is irresponsible."
Bottom line: listen to your dentist, and hope to hear them say, “I see...NO cavities!” Use fluoride rinse and toothpastes to strengthen teeth and prevent cavities, and above all, avoid soft drinks of any kind.
And if you really want to have some fun, check out CSPI's latest video "share a Coke" spoof. And when you are done, we hope you share your support with wellness warriors in favor of the SWEET Act. We need your help!
- Sugar Stacks
- Diet Soda’s Effects Are Terrifyingly Similar to Effects of Meth, Crack Cocaine
- Soda’s Effects on Tooth Erosion
- Acids in Popular Soda’s Erode Tooth Enamel
- Does Soda Really Damage Your Teeth?