It’s hard to make good decisions about the food and beverages we put in our bodies. Even when we want to eat healthy and try to do so, the things that seem healthy for us aren’t always what they seem to be.
Take diet sodas, for example. They are marketed as a sugar-free alternative to regular soda. Sugar causes weight gain and tooth decay, everybody knows that. So if this diet soda doesn’t contain sugar, then it should help you lose weight and prevent tooth decay. However, there is little to no real evidence to show that diet sodas do either.
Here at Newman Springs Dental Care we don’t want the people of Lincroft to fall for the deception of diet soda. The more you understand about tooth decay, the clearer it will become why diet sodas are just as bad for your teeth as sugar filled ones.
The True Root of Tooth Decay
Sugar is certainly a major contributor to tooth decay, but it is not the root cause. Tooth decay is caused by a bacteria known as dental caries. Most people acquire dental caries at a young age by sharing spoons with a parent.
Dental caries feed on the sugar you put in your mouth. They consume the sugar and secrete corrosive acid. The acid eats away at the enamel protecting your teeth. This can cause a cavity, and if the acid continues to eat away at the enamel, it can get all the way to the center of your tooth, where the soft pulp contains tiny nerves and blood vessels.
When the dental caries make it all the way to the pulp, problems really begin. If an infection sets in the pulp, then the root of your tooth is in danger of decay. When this happens, a root canal may be your only recourse, and if it gets bad enough, you may lose the tooth.
Once you lose a tooth to decay, you are more likely to lose another one. Infection can spread throughout your mouth severely damaging your oral health.
Diet Soda Flavoring Equals High Acid Content
If your are avoiding sugar to protect your teeth, that is a good thing, but if your are drinking diet sodas because you think they are not bad for your teeth, that is a bad thing. Even though diet sodas do not contain sugar, they contain more than enough acid to strip your enamel and ruin your teeth.
Phosphoric acid is used to aid carbonation in diet soda and to give it a flavor boost. This acid occurs naturally in some foods, but it is also very strong. In fact, one common use for phosphoric acid is to strip rust off of metal surfaces. If it can strip rust from metal, phosphoric will have no trouble stripping the enamel from your teeth.
Phosphoric acid also restricts your body’s ability to absorb calcium, which it can use to repair enamel in a process called remineralization. So, phosphoric acid is doubly bad for your teeth.
Citric acid is another common flavor enhancer used in diet soda. It gives the soda a tangy kick. Like phosphoric acid, citric acid has a corrosive effect on your enamel, making your teeth more vulnerable to dental caries.
Citric acid is also in a lot of fruit juices and sports drinks, too. So, just because something is labeled as “all natural” or “healthy” doesn’t mean they won’t rot your teeth.
Water, Water, and More Water!
Arguably, the most dangerous thing about diet sodas is that they people believe they are not bad for your teeth, so they drink more than they would if they contained sugar. In fact, some people will sip on diet sodas all day long, blissfully unaware of the damage they are doing to their teeth. This is bad for two reasons. One, as we have mentioned, all the acid in diet soda is a major contributor to tooth decay, and two, if you are drinking diet sodas all day, then you are not drinking water. And drinking water is one of the most important things you can do for your oral health.
Water provides valuable hydration to your body, which allows your mouth to produce plenty of saliva. Saliva is your mouth’s natural defense against dental caries. It actually contains antibacterial properties that fight dental caries.
Drinking plenty of water will also keep your mouth fresh and clean. It will wash away sugar and bacteria before it can cause any damage, and it will neutralize the food acid eating away at your enamel. The truth is there are few things better for your oral health than drinking water, so put the soda down and pick up a large glass of fresh water.
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