A New Reason Sipping Sodas Not Wise

Posted on Jan 24, 2014 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS

In the dental profession, we often see decay that seems reoccurring. While some people are more susceptible to an oral bacteria that is particularly harmful to tooth enamel, the real culprit is often in our hands, not our DNA.

In conversation, patients will occasionally admit they sip on a soda throughout the day. This continual intake of a sugary beverage may give a little perk to their time at a desk, but it places an ongoing attack in your mouth.

Every time you eat or drink something (other than water), an acid attack occurs in your mouth. If you’ve ever heard that digestion begins in the mouth, this is the first stage of the process. While that acid helps in digestion, your teeth are getting bombarded with the acid, which is not beneficial to teeth. So, when you sip on a soda over a long period of time, the acid attack is continual.

Even artificially sweetened drinks without sugar (in any form) are harmful, as the mouth perceives the contents as food. And, as if you needed an added reason to toss the can, research has now found that the caramel coloring in sodas is actually a cancer-causing chemical 4-methylimidazole, or 4-MeI.

Labels on these brown sodas list the chemical as “caramel coloring,” which sounds innocent. Yet, the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer says it contributes to cancer when consumed in certain amounts.

Dry mouth increases your risk for cavities and gum diseases. Nothing cleanses the mouth like good, clean water. And, you can sip that all day, every day and your smile will thank you!

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