I have been trying to diet for several months and have changed from my favorite soda to a diet one that says it has zero grams of sugar. I was thinking I am probably doing my teeth a favor by not having all that sugar in my mouth all the time, too, by shifting to diet soda. Am I right? Is diet soda better for my teeth than regular soda?
Leona, Salt Lake City
It should seem fair that if you aren’t putting real sugar into your body, that it should help your diet and your teeth. Unfortunately for your teeth, that’s not the case. Here’s why.
Everyone has bacteria in their mouth. Many of them help break down food and keep our mouths healthy. Unfortunately some of the bacteria in our mouth feeds on sugars, whether they are pure sugars or sugar substitutes. Diet soda may not have regular sugar, but it contains sorbitol, saccharine or another sweetener. As that bacteria in our mouth feeds and multiplies with the sugar, it leads to tooth decay. So artificial sweetener isn’t any better for your teeth than regular sugar in soda.
The other part about soda that is harmful to your teeth is the acid in it, whether it is regular or diet soda. These acids are damaging to the teeth because they eat away the enamel layer and make you more susceptible to cavities and tooth decay. These acids aren’t just in soda either. They are also in sports drinks, like Powerade, fruit juices and energy drinks. If you can limit the number of sodas and others of these drinks, then you are doing your teeth a favor. If you do decide to have a soda, rinse your mouth soon after finishing. You can limit the effects of the acid on your teeth.
This post is sponsored by Generations Dental Care in Enfield, Connecticut.