The burning question of the day. IS soda really bad for you? In a one worded answer: YES! But, it’s a little more complex than that, isn’t it? Soft drinks do cause cavities. But, even more so, they also cause bad breath, gum disease, tooth decay and really they just aren’t good for your health at all – mouth health and otherwise. Even if you drink a soda during the day and brush your teeth at night, floss, use mouthwash, problems can still occur. The biggest reason soda is bad for your teeth is because it’s a sticky and very sugary liquid that can stick to your teeth. Not only your teeth, but the grooves in your teeth, cracks, and spaces – areas where you might not even able to get into with your toothbrush and floss. Also, the bacteria in your mouth can eat the sugar which causes acid – acid eats enamel and once your enamel is gone it leaves your teeth vulnerable to getting cavities. It’s a really vicious circle. Even if you drink drinks that don’t have any sugar in them, they can contain acid or citric acid. These will still eat away at your enamel and teeth. Here are some stats on acid versus sugar in a few different drinks. In this case HIGH ACID is good and LOW acid is bad:
Water: 7.0 Acid – 0tsp Sugar
Barqs Root Beer: 4.0 Acid – 11tsp Sugar
Red Bull: 3.3 Acid – 10tsp Sugar
Full Throttle: 3.0 Acid – 11tsp Sugar
AMP: 2.8 Acid – 11tsp Sugar
Coca Cola Classic: 2.4 Acid – 10tsp Sugar
Choosing Healthier Drinks over Soda
If you think water and soda is the only choice available to you, you are wrong. Not only does soda not have any nutritional value, but a lot of people get addicted to it. It is, essentially, a legal drug. It’s the sugar we get addicted to though. If you also hate water, there are other things you can drink. Here, included with water, are some ideas:
– Water: This is the ultimate drink. It’s healthy, clean and it replenishes and hydrates your body. It’s also pretty tasteless which is a pro for some people since it doesn’t taste like anything! Water also has no acid, no enamel eaters, no calories and no fat.
– Fruit Juices: Mind you this is not the same as fruit punch like Hi C or Hawaiian Punch, What we’re talking about here are things like Apple Juice, Prune Juice, Cherry Juice, etc. You can even add a tiny bit of water to the mix if it’s super sweet. Organic is a really good way to go because a lot of the time they add no extra sugar and instead put things like whole honey, stevia or sugar cane in them — much better than sugar!
– Milk: Like water, milk is incredibly healthy for your body and it introduces calcium which can make your bones, including your teeth, stronger. It also has very little calories.
– Tea: Tea, especially black tea and green tea are a great way to bring antioxidants into play. Antioxidants are believed to fight off free radicals. Free radicals bring things like cancer, wrinkles and skin diseases. Green tea is especially good. Just remember to brush after you drink something like black tea because it can stain your teeth like coffee does.
– Flavored Water: Most flavored waters contain both sugar (and a form of sugar) and acids. Instead, try drinking water with lemon, lime or an orange. You can also add fruit if it’s a really juicy fruit to water such as a sliced peach, fresh sliced strawberry or blueberries to flavor the water instead of buying flavored water. Many people think that because the name has the word water in it, it must automatically be healthy and good for you, but unfortunately that’s just not the case. If you want to find a good commercial brand of flavored water, talk to your Family Dentist and see if they can recommend one or another option.
Other Drinks to Avoid
Another big craze the past few years has been energy drinks like Red Bull and Monster. Not only do these contain a LOT of sugar, but they also have a lot of acid in them which are even worse than soda believe it not. In fact, Doctors like Dr OZ say that if you are going to have something bad to drink, it’s better to have soda than an energy drink. It’s pretty much a tossup of what can ruin your teeth, body and health more. If you do want to drink a soda over an energy drink, one idea is to use a straw so that it primarily goes past your teeth and down your throat. When you drink it, the liquid tends to swish all over the inside of your mouth – as with any drink. So if you absolutely must have a soda once in a blue moon, use a straw and make sure you brush your teeth afterward.