Most people understand that consuming large amounts of soda is unhealthy, as it can lead to diabetes, obesity, and other illnesses. In the dental world, soda is a beverage most dentists recommend avoiding, or at least limiting consumption to moderate amounts. Why? Soda is a top contributor to tooth decay. What about diet soda? Recent years have seen a flurry of studies over this beverage featuring its health benefits and drawbacks when compared to regular soda.
Where does diet soda stand in the dental arena? The short answer: diet soda is better for your teeth than regular soda, but it is still destructive to your teeth.
Regular soda is detrimental to teeth chiefly because of its high sugar content. On average, a 12 oz can of soda contains around 10 teaspoons of sugar. One can of soda exceeds the daily recommended intake of sugar according to the American Heart Association, 6 to 9 teaspoons for females and males, respectively. The bacteria in your mouth feed on this sugar, producing acid that wears away the enamel that protects your teeth from cavities and other dental diseases. You strengthen the bacteria’s attack on your teeth with every sip. Since diet soda draws its sweetness from artificial sweeteners, the beverage is exempt from this drawback of regular soda. In terms of sugar content alone, diet soda triumphs as the healthier option over regular soda.
Unfortunately, diet soda is not made purely of water and artificial sweetener. It comes packaged with phosphoric acid. This substance, deliberately added, enhances the soda’s flavor and slows the growth of mold and bacteria. While beneficial for soda manufacturers, this substance is corrosive on your teeth. Combined with the onslaught of mouth bacteria against tooth enamel, acid can become very damaging to your teeth. According to an article posted by 21st Century Dental, Diet Coke has a 3.39 acidity level on the pH scale. Compare that to the acid of your stomach, which can be anywhere between 1.5 and 3.5 pH. In other words, diet soda is only slightly less acidic than the substances in your stomach that dissolves food.
Most dentists recommend limiting your diet soda intake. Of course, the best thing you can do is replace it entirely with healthier alternatives. Milk, for example, is an excellent drink for your teeth, as it is rich with calcium and other vitamins. If you have a sweet tooth that demands to be satisfied, non-acidic fruit juice made with real fruit (and not sweetened by the manufacturer) is an option, as it satisfies that craving without the acidity. Finally, unsweetened clear teas are another, as it not only rinses the teeth but also stimulates saliva production, which is beneficial to your dental health.
For more questions and information about healthy options for your teeth, call Greenspoint Dental today.