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Think Before You Drink: The Best and Worst Sodas for Your Teeth

Despite slight declines in soda sales in recent years, Americans still spend an average of $5 billion a year on soda, coffee and energy drinks, and the average American drinks 44 gallons of soda per year. In fact, it is estimated that 27 percent of our daily fluid intake is pure soda. With all that soda, it’s no wonder 92 percent of adults have had at least one cavity in their permanent teeth.  


If you’re not ready to ditch your favorite soda altogether, check out this list of the best (and worst) soft drinks for your teeth.

Colas: While the debate rages on about which cola is the best tasting, one fact remains indisputable -- both major-brand colas are bad for your teeth. Though they have less acid than other flavors of soda, the dark coloring has been known to stain teeth, so be sure to follow your glass of cola with water to help eliminate discoloration.

Diet Soda: It may seem like a smart idea to switch to diet soda to save your waistline and your smile, but believe it or not, diet sodas are just as bad for your teeth as their full-sugar counterparts. That’s because it’s not the sugar that’s hurting your teeth, it’s the acid that’s present in both diet and regular soda.

Fruit-Flavored Sodas: Fruit flavors like lemon/lime, orange, grapefruit and grape may seem healthier because they’re fruit inspired. Some may even contain real fruit juice. But despite this somewhat natural element, fruit-flavored sodas are the worst for your teeth, thanks again to their astronomically high acid content. In fact, citrus-based sodas aren’t just worse than colas for your teeth, they’re up to five times worse!

Canned Iced Teas and Coffees: Canned or bottled teas and coffees are another example of a beverages that seems healthier because they may be labeled as "all natural," but canned coffees and teas have been proven to cause a staggering 30 times more damage to your enamel than fresh-brewed tea and coffee! The canned varieties also cost a lot more than brewing at home.

Sparkling Water: Fruit-infused sparkling waters like La Croix are all the rage right now, but these calorie-free, fruit-flavored soft drinks are only slightly better for you than regular soda, thanks again to our old foe citric acid.

Root Beer: Believe it or not, studies have shown that root beer is the safest soda for your smile. Why? Because it contains the smallest amount of flavor additives.

Not a fan of root beer? Don’t worry, you can still enjoy your favorite soda, just remember to follow these tips after you sip!

  • Drink a glass of water after each glass of soda. This will help keep you hydrated while it rinses away some of the sugar and acid left behind in your mouth.
  • Brush your teeth 30 minutes after drinking soda or any other acidic food or drink. Acid temporarily softens the enamel, which can be damaged by brushing until it rehardens. Allow about 30 minutes for the enamel to solidify before cleaning your teeth.
  • The American Heart Association recommends you drink no more than 450 calories of soda a week, or the equivalent of three cans, but remember -- diet sodas are just as dangerous, so don’t think you can outsmart your enamel by loading up on them instead!

If you have any questions about your teeth or your favorite drink, or to set up an appointment, give Dr. Simpson’s office a call at (910) 550-3959.

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