Image of Glass With Cola That Can Destroy Your Teeth

Three Reasons Sodas Destroy Your Teeth
Courtesy of: Craig Sommer DDS

As A Natural Dentist I’ll Give You Three Reasons To Quit Soda Drinking For Good, Even If You Are Hooked On It.

It’s what’s in the soda that should scare you. It’s the stuff that will destroy your teeth.

We love sodas because they’re sweet. Sweet always wins, even if it’s to your own detriment. Let’s face it, soda drinking is addictive and normally, breaking the habit requires too much effort. In fact even lab rats, given a choice between drinking something sweet and just plain water will always choose the sweet. I think we are hardwired for sweet anything.

But, It’s worse than you think.

Hey, you’re thinking,  I don’t drink a lot of sodas, I only have a little sip here and there. Maybe I’ll have a couple sodas in the morning, to start my day, maybe one or two in the afternoon, how much harm could there be in that? The truth? Quite a bit of potential harm exists.  You’ve probably heard sodas are not good for you or your teeth. And you might have just dismissed it. But I’ll show you why you may want to reconsider.


The Pool Hall Underneath The Liquor Store

I remember as a kid, I used to hang out regularly with friends. And one of our favorite places was a brand-new pool hall built in the basement of a small strip mall. It was conveniently located just a block or two from a brand-new McDonald’s and was within walking distance from home for my friends and I.

So it was easy to meet up with my friends. We’d walk over to McDonald’s, get a snack, usually a soda and fries and head over to the pool hall to hang out and play billiards or snooker. The outside entrance led into an indoor landing with stairs on the right leading down to the pool hall, or straight ahead about 8 feet, to the entrance for the liquor store. The landing was always protected from the outside weather heated in the winter and refreshingly cool in the summer.

And Then There Was Mrs. Lassick

In the wintertime, when you were thirsty, it was a lot easier to walk up the stairs from the basement level of the pool hall into the liquor store. There you could buy sodas from their refrigerator cabinet and snacks of all kinds, but there was a catch, Mrs. Lassick, the owner of the liquor store. She was the mother of a friend of mine. And it was curious how she took on the mom role more than the liquor store owner role, as she advised me not to buy the sodas because they were not good for me.

The Conversation

So we’d have a conversation. I would ask her why not? And she would say, there is too much sugar in them, and the phosphoric acid rots your bones and teeth. Really? “Yes, really,” she’d reply.

So my friends and I could either just avoid the whole problem and wait until one of her other employees was at the liquor store before we went to get a soda. Or we could face the music and have to listen to Mrs. Lassick telling us the sodas were not good for us, don’t buy them, there is too much sugar in them, and the phosphoric acid rots your bones and teeth. Really? Yes, really. How did she know?

She would still sell it to us if we insisted, always accompanied with a disapproving eye. My favorite was Pick’s ginger-beer.

I Had to Check It out for Myself

Being the nerdy kid that I was, I decided to do a bit of research on sodas. Digging around in my World Book Encyclopedia, I learned a little about sugar and phosphoric acid. The acids cause teeth to soften. It’s called erosion when they are so weakened by acids that chewing, brushing and cavities destroy enamel exceptionally fast. I had to check it out for myself. And I encourage you to do the same.

It was a different time in society back then. Parents of friends thought they actually had a role in helping you grow up and do well. They felt responsible. They were looking out for you where and when your own parents couldn’t.

The Security Cameras Of That Era

We always knew they were keeping an eye on us and would let our parents know if they saw anything troubling. They were the security cameras of that era, but monitored by people you felt you could trust.

The overall effect was Mrs. Lassick, and her regular comments about buying sodas, made a difference with me, the kid hanging out at the pool hall. I think a few of my friends listened too.

So fast-forward a number of years and we find that conventional parental wisdom has not changed much. Sodas are still not good for you.

Even Sugar-Free Sodas Melt Your Teeth

There are actually two problems going on at the same time. You have acids, produced by bacteria feeding on sugar, that dissolve your teeth. And you have acids, added by the manufacturer of the soda, that also dissolve your teeth. It’s a two-for-the-price-of-one super-duper deal of the century.

Have you heard of stories where Colas have been used to remove rust from chrome car bumpers, clean battery terminals, and loosen rusty bolts? I’ve never tried any of these first-hand, but I do know some of the science behind acids.

Reason #1 To Quit Drinking Sodas-Carbonic Acid

Sodas contain several acids, with carbonic acid being common to all of them. When carbon dioxide, the gas that causes all the fizzy bubbles in soda, is dissolved in water, it makes carbonic acid. Carbonic acid will slowly dissolve your teeth by sucking the calcium out of them.

Reason #2 Toilet Bowl Cleaner Used In Sodas

Then there is a soda additive called phosphoric acid. It gives sodas that sharp acidic biting flavor. You might notice that if you rub your teeth together after drinking sodas that they will feel a bit gritty. It’s softening the enamel on your teeth and you only have so much enamel to work with.

Phosphoric acid has been used for years as a cleaner for toilet bowls, tile, grout and masonry. It works very well to remove calcium deposits from all these surfaces. Since your teeth consist of a calcium based mineral, if the acid dissolves calcium, it dissolves teeth. This acid is definitely one to avoid. It will also disturb the calcium balance in the rest of your body as well.

Citric acid is another common additive to sodas. It is also responsible for the tart flavor of many sodas that you find so attractive much like citrus fruits including lemons, limes, oranges, and grapefruit.


Image Of Lemons And Lime Which Contain High Levels Of Citric Acid That Destroys Teeth

Lemons And Limes Contain High Levels Of Citric Acid That Destroys Teeth

Reason #3 Coffeepot Cleaner Used In Sodas

The same citric acid used for cleaning coffee pots is also used in products for tile walls, floors, countertops, porcelain sinks, and toilet bowls. It’s used because it is a strong acid that can remove rust and lime scale from metals.

It’s also used in industrial lime scale removal products for boilers and evaporators. That unique ability to dissolve lime scale (calcium based)  makes it especially damaging to teeth (calcium based).

Mrs. Lassick Rides Again

I have taken on the role of looking out for you and your health just like Mrs. Lassick did for me as a kid. I’m telling you something that is not in my best business interest as a dentist, but your overall health is more important to me. If you continue to drink sodas that contain the three acids, I mentioned, you will keep your dentist busy fixing your cavities. Avoid drinking all beverages that contain acids and you will  avoid a major contributor to dental destruction.

I’m pointing out areas of concern, where small changes now can make for enormously positive outcomes in the future.

In an upcoming article I’ll show you which soda is the worst, causing the most damage to tooth enamel.