Nearly 80 years ago, marketing giant Coca Cola introduced their slogan “The Pause That Refreshes.” That line has certainly proved its staying power, but does Coke have staining power on your teeth? Before you pour your next glass, take a quick look at my Q&A on sodas….from Coke to Sprite – Regular to Lite – and see how they impact your pearly whites.
Are Clear-Colored Sodas Better For You than Caramel-Colored Beverages?
While neither is a healthy option for your teeth, regular consumption of caramel-colored beverages have been known to stain teeth more quickly. And, the high sugar content of any soda – regardless of color – causes lasting damage to tooth enamel. This leads to decay, cavities or tooth loss in extreme situations.
What About Diet Sodas?
Diet soda is extremely acidic, and will corrode tooth enamel.
Does Drinking Soda Through a Straw Protect My Teeth?
Using a straw can limit the amount of sugar and acid that touches your teeth, but only when positioned correctly. The likelihood for accidental contact is so high, this method really does not protect you.
Are There Teeth-Friendly Alternatives to Soda?
If carbonated beverages are really your thing, why not try switching to sparkling water or a seltzer? You’ll get the fizz, but no threat of tooth decay.
I Can’t Give Up My One Can A Day…..What Do I Do?
- Rinse your mouth and brush your teeth after drinking to clear away sugar and acid
- Use flouride-rich toothpaste and mouthwash to strengthen tooth enamel
- Visit my office regularly to prevent tooth damage.
Okay…if you have a moment longer, let me give you more reasons why drinking soda is bad for your entire body. It’s important to know the total picture.
Soft drinks consist of three basic elements: phosphoric acid, sugar (or artificial sweeteners) and caffeine. Our diet is chronically low in calcium and high in phosphates. Phosphates essentially act as the enemy of calcium, interfering with the body’s absorption of this critical element. When the body is short of calcium, bones become weaker and more prone to fracture; and, as discussed, teeth become softer and more prone to decay. Diets high in phosphates and low in calcium can ultimately lead to osteoporosis.
And then, there’s the refined sugar – which has been implicated in everything from diabetes to obesity, high blood pressure and heart disease. In younger children, it is believed to be one of the most important causes of Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD). Sugar free sodas are NOT the answer, either. Nutrasweet (found in most of them) has been linked to 92 different health problems, everything from cancer on down. It is also known to react poorly with many common meds people take, including anti-depressants , hormones, insulin and some cardiac medicines. Some sodas, of course also have caffeine, a highly addictive stimulant that can cause insomnia, high blood pressure, irregular heartbeat and vitamin and mineral depletion. Caffeine is also a diuretic, which means that caffeinated soft drinks won’t actually satisfy a person’s thirst.
Sorry soda lovers, it’s just a bad choice. There are many other thirst quenchers on the market. For the sake of your teeth – and your overall health – make the switch.