Are Diet Drinks Bad For Your Teeth?
Well, to start this argument, let’s go back to school; or more specifically, school chemistry.
Remember those fun lab experiments where you mixed stuff together and then added acid? Yep, it frothed, erupted like a volcano or exploded.
That’s acid for you. And guess what, acid one of the key ingredients in diet drinks!
Additionally, a study in the journal Epidemiology suggests that drinking two or more colas a day - diet or regular - can be associated with urinary changes that promote kidney stones.
Teeth fail the acid test
If you saw the havoc acid could create in a few seconds in school, imagine what it’s doing with time on its hands; time sitting on your teeth after every sip.
Phosphoric acid, citric acid and tartaric acid; admittedly, not quite as horrific as sulphuric or hydrochloric acid, but acid nonetheless. And while your teeth won’t exactly froth, erupt or explode, every diet drink is quietly eating away at your smile.
And guess what: diet sodas have been found to cause the same amount of dental erosion as regular sodas.
What are the main culprits?
Well, name any drink marketed as sugar-free and you’re probably looking at a guilty party. Diet coke, diet lemonade, diet Fanta, and all other diet sodas and sports drinks will rot your teeth given half a chance.
How can you control the acid?
Don’t brush. Seriously, if you insist on drinking diet drinks, don’t brush straightaway; wait at least an hour. Researchers have found that it can take saliva 30 minutes to an hour to settle back to a neutral, non-acidic pH. If you brush your teeth before this, you can actually spread rather than remove the acid.
Another tip: drink through a straw to lessen the soda’s contact with your teeth and chase it away with milk or water.
And another one: cheese. Yes, our beloved cheese has been found to help neutralise acid. A few slices after drinking diet drinks can speed up the process.
Finally, if you can’t quit the diet drinks completely, try to indulge as a meal accompaniment. Drinking acidic drinks outside mealtimes is the worst thing you can do as the acid will sit there conducting its own little school science project and you won’t even know it.
So what drinks are actually good for your teeth?
The short answer to that is water. The longer answer is water and milk. Choose water over all other drinks as much as you can. It won’t rot your teeth, increase cholestrol and sugar intake like sodas and it won’t make you fall over like alcohol.
If you find water intensely boring, try keeping an iced jug of it in the fridge; water is way more refreshing served cold and the chill does wonders for your metabolism and weight control.
Failing that or if you’re lactose intolerant, try going for root beer, black tea, green tea or black coffee.