We’ve all heard that a can of coca-cola could strip the rust off of a nail or clean the tarnish of an old penny. This might be an experiment for a Mythbusters segment.

But one thing for certain is that most sodas contain phosphoric acid, a preservative, or citric acid for flavor.  These chemicals lower the ph levels in soft drinks to about 2.5 (on a scale where 7 is neutral and lower numbers indicate increasing acidity).  Straight Vinegar and wine score almost as low as soda, while lemon and lime juice, with a ph of less than 2, are nearly as corrosive as battery acid.  Whew!!

Sports and energy drinks could also be the responsible for tooth enamel damage and thus putting a patient at risk for cavities, according to the latest research.  The study done in the journal of General Dentistry showed that energy drinks cause almost twice as much enamel damage as sports drinks when patients were exposed to both for a period of 5 days.  Enamel damage was noticeable even after this short period of time.

Other culprits of enamel eroding are fruit and fruit juices, and sour hard and soft candies, including gummy candies. These include but are not limited to Sour Skittles and Sour Altoids. Hard candies are bad because they tend to be in the mouth longer causing an acid bath environment, but gummy candies are just as bad because they are sticky and allow the harmful acids to stick to the enamel.

Once the enamel is gone it is gone for good. So, what’s the big deal with that? Well, without enamel the second layer of the tooth shows.  That layer is not only yellow in color; it also makes the tooth more sensitive. The best way to preserve enamel is to avoid acidity.
Of course the very best drink for your teeth is good plain water, but if you like sodas, and energy/sports drinks, and sour candy.

Here are some more tips.

1. Space out the consumption of acidic foods over the course of the day
2. Consider cutting back on soda and energy/sports drinks and substituting water or non acidic drinks.
3. Use a straw to keep acid away from your teeth
4. Wait at least an hour before you brush.  Enamel remains soft for a while after you eat or drink something acidic. Brushing too soon may spread the acid from the beverages all over your teeth.
5. Consider using fluoride toothpaste that has been specifically designed to help protect tooth enamel against tooth erosion.
6. After drinking soda or a sports/energy drink, rinse your mouth out with water or chew a sugar-free piece of gum right after drinking the beverages.

Consider these recommendations to keep your tooth enamel safe and sound from the foods and drinks you enjoy.