Root beer may be 'safest' soft drink for teeth

March 20, 2007

Exposing teeth to soft drinks, even for a short period of time, causes dental erosion—and prolonged exposure can lead to significant enamel loss. Root beer products, however, are non-carbonated and do not contain the acids that harm teeth, according to a study in the March/April 2007 issue of General Dentistry, the AGD's clinical, peer-reviewed journal. That might be something to consider during the next visit to the grocery store.

Consumers often consider soft drinks to be harmless, believing that the only concern is sugar content. Most choose to consume "diet" drinks to alleviate this concern. However, diet drinks contain phosphoric acid and/or citric acid and still cause dental erosion—though considerably less than their sugared counterparts.

"Drinking any type of soft drink poses risk to the health of your teeth," says AGD spokesperson Kenton Ross, DMD, FAGD. Dr. Ross recommends that patients consume fewer soft drinks by limiting their intake to meals. He also advises patients to drink with a straw, which will reduce soda's contact with teeth.

"My patients are shocked to hear that many of the soft drinks they consume battery acid," Dr. Ross explains. For example, one type of cola ranked 2.39 on the acid
scale, compared to battery acid which is 1.0.

Researchers concluded that non-colas cause a greater amount of erosion than colas. Citric acid is the predominant acid in non-cola drinks and is a major factor in why non-cola drinks are especially erosive. There is a significant difference between sugared and diet colas.

"The bottom line," Dr. Ross stresses, "is that the acidity in all soft drinks is enough to damage your teeth and should be avoided."

What is dental erosion?

-- Dental erosion involves loss of tooth structure
-- Erosion refers to the action of the acid on the entire surface of the tooth
-- Dental erosion and dental cavities are not exactly the same. Cavities and tooth decay tend to be isolated to cavity-prone areas such as in between teeth and in pits and grooves

Source: Academy of General Dentistry

Explore further: A wash that reduces health risks in fresh produce

Related Stories

A wash that reduces health risks in fresh produce

September 14, 2015

An Agricultural Research Service scientist in Pennsylvania has developed a sanitizing wash formulated with natural compounds that could reduce the number of foodborne illnesses caused each year by Escherichia coli, Salmonella, ...

The science behind the perfect coffee

June 5, 2014

( —A chemist at the University of Bath has teamed up with the UK Barista Champion to find the best type of water for making coffee. The pair are heading to the World Barista Championships in Italy on 8 June to ...

Recommended for you

How the finch changes its tune

August 3, 2015

Like top musicians, songbirds train from a young age to weed out errors and trim variability from their songs, ultimately becoming consistent and reliable performers. But as with human musicians, even the best are not machines. ...

Machine Translates Thoughts into Speech in Real Time

December 21, 2009

( -- By implanting an electrode into the brain of a person with locked-in syndrome, scientists have demonstrated how to wirelessly transmit neural signals to a speech synthesizer. The "thought-to-speech" process ...

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

not rated yet Jul 09, 2009
pH 2.39 is around fifteen times less acidic than battery acid... not even close. However, that said, it is still not good for your health.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.