Walk around with waterI was not surprised to read about a recent research study out of Australia that concluded "diet" beverages are bad for the teeth. Sugar has long taken the blame for contributing to cavities, and deservedly so, but sugar is not solely to blame. Plaque also has to be present because plaque converts that sugar into acid on the teeth.
While beverages like diet soda contain sugar substitutes plaque germs
can't use to make acid, these drinks themselves contain acid (usually citric, carbonic or phosphoric.) Acid, whether it is made by plaque or in the drink itself, will erode enamel.
It doesn't matter to teeth where the acid comes from. Sipping on an acidic diet drink all day, in terms of the affect on the teeth, is just as bad as sipping on a sugary drink. The only benefit of most diet drinks is the elimination of the sugar and there are many who would argue that sugar substitutes are just as bad for overall health.
|Diet Soda - Phosphoric and Citric Acids|
Photo: Y. Mikalopas
The best rule of thumb is this: Drink any drink that is NOT water with a meal. Otherwise, drink water. You can't go wrong with water because it is the only drink that is both sugar and acid free.
(Did you know that black coffee and tea are acidic - about a pH of 5, but that green and herbal teas are close to water, about a pH of 7.)
This blog is not intended to treat or diagnose any dental or medical condition - see your dentist or doctor if you need help!