Whether you’re buying beverages at the store or getting food delivered, you might find yourself opting for diet sodas rather than original versions in order to cut down on calories. Unfortunately, it’s a common myth that diet soda is inherently better for you, especially when it comes to your oral health. Thankfully, you can learn the differences from a dentist and why other beverages, such as plain water, are always the better option in the long-term.
No Sugar Does Not Mean No Cavities
On the packaging you might think that a beverage containing no sugar means that it’s safe to drink, but the reality is there are still many ingredients in diet soda that negatively affect your tooth enamel. Sugar replacements that you often find in diet sodas include aspartame, cyclamate, saccharin, acesulfame-k and sucralose, all of which can still harm teeth in the long-term. These replacements can still feed cavity-causing bacteria, which means bacteria that consume them can still produce plaque acids that erode enamel.
Additionally, research on the subject shows that even when compared to sodas containing real sugar, diet sodas eroded about the same amount of enamel. According to a pair of researchers hailing from the University of Michigan, regular Coca Cola was found to remove 2.8 mg/cm² of enamel from a fully submerged tooth over the course of 14 days. How did diet soda compare to the same test? Over the same time period, diet soda removed 3 mg/cm² of enamel.
Carbonation’s Effect on Teeth
While artificial sugars can still erode enamel, there’s another aspect that many people don’t take into consideration: carbonation. Diet soda is still carbonated just like regular soda. To make a beverage carbonated, carbon dioxide is pumped into it. Once you drink it, the body turns it into carbonic acid, which is harmful to tooth enamel. In fact, it can wear it down to the point where it becomes more susceptible to developing cavities.
At the end of the day, diet soda carries many of the same harmful effects as regular sodas. The good news is there are many other beverages to consider when you want to keep your oral health in mind.
Healthier Options to Consider
When you’re looking for something to either quench your thirst or act as the perfect compliment for your meal, move away from the sugary sodas and carbonated drinks along the way. A few tooth-friendly beverages include:
- Plain water
- Unsweetened tea
- Green and herbal teas
- Mineral water
While diet sodas may not be good for tooth enamel, your options are not that limited in terms of beverages. Consider taking another look at your diet today and see how you can make improvements to your oral health!
About the Author
Dr. Benjamin Hornstein takes the entire body into account when prescribing dental treatments. Oral health is overall health, and understanding the way that diet influences the teeth and gums is essential to ensuring the most comprehensive dental treatment possible. If you’re in need of an appointment or need guidance on managing your diet, you can contact him through his website.