What does this mean? In essence, it gives another reason to think of sodas — diet or not — as occasional beverages, rather than daily staples.
The citric and phosphoric acids in sodas wear out our enamel, the protective substance covering the crowns of our teeth. Over time, constant attacks on our enamel lead to tooth decay.
What’s crucial to understand is that a lack of sucrose (table sugar) in a diet soda does not mean it is automatically safe for our teeth.
If you see phosphoric or citric acid listed as an ingredient, my best recommendation is to consume that drink through a straw. That way, the liquid goes straight to the back of the throat, reducing our enamel’s exposure to it.
If you do not have access to a straw, you want to make sure you to drink that beverage fairly quickly. Slowly sipping a soda over the course of twenty minutes is much more detrimental to tooth enamel than drinking it in a quick fashion.
Taking tap water as the benchmark (which has a very neutral pH of approximately 7.6), here is how some popular sodas measure up. The lower the number, the more damaging that beverage is to our enamel.
- Cherry Coke: 2.52
- Coke: 2.53
- Pepsi: 2.53
- Dr. Pepper: 2.9
- 7-Up: 3.2
- Diet Coke: 3.29
- Root Beer: 4.0