Monday, July 02, 2007

Know your acids (paca)

Every time I go to the dentist and have to get a filling, I declare that this time I really am giving up sodas. After all, everyone knows that the sugar and acid in soda rot away your teeth over time. However, since I declare this every time, it is clear that this "no more soda" thing doesn't work. I still have my caffeine addiction and I don't drink coffee, so what to do?

The first thing I tried was switching to iced tea. Diet Lipton iced tea, in fact, and I did that for a few days. But then I read the label. Citric Acid. Hmmm.... Pepsi has phosphoric acid. Is phosphoric acid that much worse for your teeth than citric? After all, no one goes off about the evils of tea like they do soda. But, wait! Here's 7-up. It's only got citric acid, too, so could I be drinking citric acid sodas, just not phosphoric acid ones?

So I did some online reading and here's what I learned. First up, both sugar and acid are of course bad for the old mandibles. Dropping either helps. Citric acid also seems to be just as bad as phosphoric acid, so you don't gain anything by dropping Diet Coke and taking up lemon-lime flavored things. Even Crystal Light tea is full of acid which can eat at the enamel. (I do not know proportions in any of these things, which would naturally play a role.)

Next up, it's the acid lingering on teeth which is bad. So supposedly the worst thing you can do teeth-wise is to sit at your desk and take a swig of your soda every few minutes for two hours straight. It actually makes a difference if you just drink a soda with lunch in a couple minutes rather than slowly savoring it throughout the afternoon. Similarly, there are claims that using a straw can help, since the straw mostly bypasses your teeth and goes to the back of your mouth. So, what does all this mean?

Drink water, of course.

But if you are determined to not drink water, fake sugars are better than real sugar (for teeth anyway; don't know about the rest). And you have to watch the lemon / citrus flavored things. I haven't completely investigated yet, but it appears that if I were to make a pitcher of my own iced tea from tea leaves (not from lemon flavored tea mix), and then add Splenda, that would be not-bad for the incisers. And for whatever reasons, apparently root beer is the best of all the sodas and sweet drinks. If you can find a good diet root beer or similar (cream soda?), that would probably be good for your teeth as well. And then have the drink with a meal, not as a long snack, and use a straw. And there you go.

Now, my step-dad is actually a dentist / oral surgeon. If he lets me know that any of this is completely wrong, I will update you.


Sammy Jankis said...

The problem with tea is that prolonged over-ingestion will stain your now healthy, acid free teeth.

writtenwyrdd said...

I may be wrong, but there is also the issue of Ph, which is acidic in all carbonated beverages. Lately, I've become fond of Lipton diet green tea, but I think (not sure) it has some acid in it to provide a bit of zip. Trick is apparently to make your own.

I keep spiking my plain, filtered water with lime juice, so I'm just a bad tooth handler all around, I guess.

But tea doesn't stain as bad as coffee, apparently. My coffee habit is worth the twice yearly cleanings, though!

ril said...

So, did you drop the acid or didn't you?

Trick is apparently to make your own.

Child of the sixties?

wv: fuyuu

Point taken.


pacatrue said...

Sorry, ril, I haven't yet dropped the acid. But I do remember the Beatles acid days. Grungy teeth, sugar highs, caffeine hits at 5 AM... wow, it was scary.

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