Time for a quiz, Las Cruces!
True or False? Sugar is the only thing that causes tooth decay.
False! Sugar is only one of the three main causes of tooth decay. The other two are acid and bacteria.
True or False? Bottled water doesn’t contain fluoride, so you might as well drink a soda because it doesn’t have fluoride either.
False! It is true that most bottled waters do not contain fluoride, so they are not going the extra mile to protect your teeth. But bottled water also doesn’t contain the sugar and acid that sodas do, so they are not going to damage your teeth the way sodas will. Water is always better than soda!
True or False? Diet sodas do not contain sugar, so they are as good as water for your teeth.
False! False! False!
The misconception that sugar is the only cause of tooth decay has led to the dangerous notion that diet sodas, which contain artificial sweeteners instead of sugar, are perfectly safe for your teeth and will not have an adverse effect on your oral health.
Here at Advance Dental of Las Cruces, we want to put that myth to rest. It may be true that diet sodas don’t contain sugar, but sugar is not the only threat to your oral health. Acid also causes a lot of damage to your teeth, and diet soda have plenty of acid.
What Causes Tooth Decay
Tooth decay occurs when sugar comes into contact with the plaque on your teeth, creating acid. Plaque is a film made up of bacteria that covers your. This bacteria, known as dental caries, consumes the sugar and turns it into acid that eats away at your teeth’s enamel, thus tooth decay.
But sometimes we help the dental caries along by adding more acids to the equation. Acids that will eat away at your enamel without the help of sugar. And these acids are plentiful in the sodas we love to drink, even the diet ones.
Diet Soda and Acid
Since diet sodas do not contain sugar, manufacturers have to look elsewhere to their drinks the kick customers want from a soda, and they found what they were looking for in phosphoric acid and citric acid. These two acids are very common flavor additives in diet sodas because they kick the carbonation up a notch, while adding a distinctive tanginess, or acidity, to the drink.
Both phosphoric and citric acids are found naturally in a variety of fruits and vegetables, but they are also incredibly corrosive. You may have seen the old car maintenance trick where you use a bottle of diet soda to clean the rust off an old rusty bumper. It works, and it’s the acid, particularly the phosphoric acid, that makes it work.
There is also a grade school experiment where you soak a hard boiled eggs in diet soda overnight. While you sleep, the acid in the diet soda will break down all the calcium in the egg shell, dissolving it. This may be a clever way to peel a hard boiled egg, but image what that soda will do to your teeth.
The acid in diet soda eats away at your enamel, making it more vulnerable to tooth decay, but that is not the only problem with diet sodas. The biggest issue with drinking diet soda is that when you are doing so, you are not drinking water.
As we mentioned above, even non-fluoridated bottled water is better for your teeth than any kind of soda. Water is essential for keeping your teeth free from food particles and plaque. It will also neutralize the acids from diet soda, if you drink it directly after. When it comes to oral health, water is the miracle elixir you can’t do without. So, make sodas, diet or otherwise, an every now and then treat, while drinking water throughout the day, and you should be just fine.
Come See Us in Las Cruces
In addition to avoiding sodas and drinking plenty of water, be sure to make regular visits to Advanced Dental of Las Cruces. We can perform professional cleanings and thorough examinations that will give your teeth the preventive care they need to stay healthy.
Contact us today to schedule an appointment.