Image Of Cola Soda In Glass With Graphics Of Stealth Acids Floating In Drink

Does Your Favorite Soda Cause More Tooth Decay Than Any Other Drink?
Courtesy of: Craig Sommer DDS

Worst tooth decay causing beverages. Is your favorite one of them?

See the rankings below.

Sodas contain 3 deadly ingredients when it comes to tooth decay.

1.) Sugars,

2.) Strong acids (low pH numbers), and

3.) Stealth acids.

All 3 are put into sodas by manufacturers to enhance taste. If it tastes good, chances are you will buy it even if it’s not good for your teeth. That’s what they’re betting on. Look at the label.

Three Deadly Ingredients WhenIt Comes To Tooth Decay Courtesy of: Craig Sommer DDS

Three Deadly Ingredients WhenIt Comes To Tooth Decay
Courtesy of: Craig Sommer DDS

The way I see it, there’s way too much destruction of healthy smiles in exchange for the short-term pleasure of tasty sodas and it just breaks my heart.

So I want you to know the key ingredients to avoid in all sodas, candies and packaged snacks so you can avoid them and protect your smile, the money in your wallet, and most of all your self-confidence. It’s a trade-off, but I think it’s worth it.

I talked with you about sugar in a previous article and about acid strength in another. In this article I’ll focus on stealth acids.

What are stealth acids you ask? Stealth acids are weaker acids, commonly found in natural foods, that continuously release dangerous-for-your-teeth hydrogen ions, without tasting really sour. You don’t get a good warning that your teeth are suffering because sweeteners are added to hide the sourness of acids.

Where Does Your Soda Favorite Fit On The Scale Of Tooth Dissolving Ability?

If you look at the acid strength of various drinks in my other article you will notice that the very strong acids colas are not the worst tooth destroyers. Diet Mountain Dew gets the first place trophy in this study.

Percent Of Tooth Samples Dissolved

 Test It For Yourself

These acids are subtly etching your teeth, softening them for continuous tooth decay.  Rub your teeth together, and notice how they feel. Okay, now drink a cola drink and rub your teeth together again and notice if they feel a little gritty. They almost squeak when rubbed together. That is the acid softening your teeth.

Manufactures buy the stealth acid additives by the train car load. It’s part of what makes the unique flavor that sells their product.

Stealth Acids Are Flavor Enhancers

Stealth acids are put into sodas and candies and other snack food to stimulate your taste buds. They are flavor enhancers. Their products just taste better with stealth acids added. The downside is that the stealth acids are packed into these foods in amazing quantities.

The stealth acids are like lots of  suitcases on an airport carousel floating around inside the soda, and then your mouth. When they encounter teeth they open and dump out their dirty laundry of hydrogen ions accelerating tooth decay at unimaginable levels of destruction.

Kitchen Table Chemistry

Try adding a little baking soda powder to a little of your favorite soda and watch the result. The fizzing bubbles generated will probably cause the soda to over flow the glass. That is the acid in your beverage being neutralized by the basic baking soda powder forming lots of carbon dioxide gas.

It’s The Same With Your Teeth

The attack is on. There’s nothing available in your mouth to neutralize these acids better than your teeth. The stealth acids spew out of their suitcase like containers onto the enamel and roots of your teeth until the acids are neutralized by dissolved your teeth and generating fizzy gasses. The process just occurs more slowly and a little less violently.

Ugly Tooth Decay On Steroids

As I mentioned earlier, stealth acids are the food chemist’s version of a time released attack on your teeth. The greater the quantity of stealth acids dissolved in your favorite drink, the more potential for what we call, as dentists, gross tooth decay. That’s ugly tooth decay, on steroids.

What Am I Supposed To Avoid?

So what should you be looking for on the label of any snack food or drink your thinking about eating? First of all, look for the word acid in the ingredient list, it’s a really important clue. Avoid added acids, there are enough natural ones in foods already.

The specific acids to look for are: phosphoric acid, malic acid, lactic acid, fumaric acid, citric acid and acetic acid. Remember all of these are added to enhance flavor and to trick you into eating or drinking more of these snack foods. Yes, it is done on purpose to increase sales.

Stealth Acids Are In Natural Foods Too

Now all of these acids are found in many types of foods. Malic acid for example is naturally found in cherries, tomatoes, apples, bananas and pears. So some serious thought should be given to limiting the total amount of fresh fruit in your diet. Yeah, I know, they’re sweet and they taste good, but they’re packed with natural stealth acids that cause the same attacks on your smile.

You can find lactic acid in many types of pickled foods and acetic acid as well. So if you’re a pickled food junkie, you may want to limit these also. I hope I’m not raining on your parade, but I want you to be aware of how damaging some foods can be.

Fumaric acid is found in gelatin desserts and cheesecake mixes, with a little thrown into powdered drink mixes just for fun.

How About Lemons and Limes?

Citric acid is found in all citrus fruits such as lemons, limes, oranges and grapefruit. Your dentist can tell if you have been a big citrus fruit eater because he can recognize the tooth damage. Your teeth will be distorted in shape, thinned out in vital areas and look ten or more years older than you are.

The Solution

So what’s the solution? The simplest  answer is don’t leave these foods behind on your teeth after a meal. Get them out of there, now! Brush, floss, rinse or chew sugarless gum. It’s the exposure time that causes the damage to teeth. So the worst thing that can happen is for you to nibble, munch, sip, slurp and snack on these foods throughout the day non-stop. Work to curtail non-stop snacking.

Remember, I have nothing to gain from telling you this other than the satisfaction that you will begin making changes that could easily extend your life. I’m just giving you the best advice I can.