diet soda

Are Sugar-Free Sodas aren’t as Healthy?

diet sodaBloomsburg, Danville, and Lewisburg, PA

Have you ever considered making the switch to diet sodas for tooth health? If so, you might want to consider something different. While diet sodas do not contain sugar, they are not necessarily healthy for your teeth.

This article is going to examine the reasons why.

Before we get into the science behind diet sodas, it is important to examine exactly why someone might want to switch to diet drinks in the first place. The two main dental related problems with drinking soda are that soda can lead to cavities and erosion of the teeth. Most people are aware of the link between sugar and cavities. Because they know that soda contains sugar, it seems like a logical conclusion that drinking sodas that do not have sugar should be better, and theoretically, it is … a little bit … but not enough to make a real difference since it is not ONLY sugar that is the problem when it comes to sodas.

When people drink sodas with sugar, the sugar in it combines with the bacteria in the mouth which causes lactic acid to form and attack the teeth. Regular soda – a 12 ounce can – contains about 10 teaspoons of sugar, and since the sugar feeds the decay-causing bacteria, it is horrible for your teeth. If the soda is sipped and consumed over a longer period of time, the effect on the teeth is prolonged. Sipping the soda causes the decay-causing bacteria to wash over the teeth during consumption of the soda. This means that it could last all day – depending on the amount of drinks that are consumed.

Since diet sodas don’t have sugar, they should be better, right?

Well, not exactly.

Since diet sodas do not contain sugars, the main culprit that makes them bad for teeth is the acid in the drink itself. The levels of phosphoric acid, citric acid, and/or tartaric acid is usually high in sugar-free drinks. Make no mistake, the levels of these acids are high in the sugared versions of these drinks as well. For example, regular Coke has a pH of 2.525 while Diet Coke has a pH of 3.289. Tap water contains a pH of 7.67, and saliva pH ranges between 6.2 and 7.6. Since minerals will leave the teeth until the pH levels reach 5.6, drinking diet sodas will also have a negative effect on teeth even though they are not quite as acidic as regular sodas. Because a balanced mouth is the key to preventing cavities and improving oral health, it is necessary to keep the pH of your mouth at a healthy level.

If, like in the earlier example of regular sodas, the diet sodas are being sipped over long periods of time, then the pH of the mouth does not get a chance to get back to normal, resulting in almost constant mineral loss in teeth, which leads to tooth decay.

So, what can you do?

The best option would be to give up sodas and drink water. However, since many people do not feel they can or do not want to give up sodas completely – especially since non- soda drinks can also cause decay due to their acidic properties – there are other things that you might consider doing.

  • Cut back on your soda intake.

If you are consuming sodas throughout the day, simply switch some of the sodas for water.

  • Drink the soda quickly.

Instead of sipping on the soda over a long period of time, drink the soda quickly. Sip on water throughout the day. If it must be soda-like, rely on sparkling mineral water instead of sodas.

  • Drink soda only with meals.

Since you are going to be eating and changing the pH of your mouth with food anyway, drinking soda with a meal and water any other time would be the wisest choice.

  • Swish water after drinking soda.

At the bare minimum, swishing a sip of water after drinking soda can help mitigate some of the damage from diet soda because it will help to rebalance the pH of your mouth quicker.

As you can see, when it comes to sodas, there really isn’t a lesser evil. Whether sugared or not, sodas should not be a regular part of your diet. Look into other beverage options such as water, brewed tea, or any drink that does not contain high levels of sugar or acidity.

If you feel like your teeth have been damaged from excess soda drinking and you are in the Bloomsburg, Danville, and Lewisburg areas, contact Hamilton Dental Care today by calling (570) 316-0887 to investigate your dental options.