So what's the deal with Diet Soda and dental health?

Discussion in 'Dental' started by cardsurgguy, May 4, 2007.

  1. cardsurgguy

    cardsurgguy Senior Member
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    So I had a patient ask me the other day if diet soda was bad for their teeth. And being a medical student I told them to ask their dentist the next time they go since I'm not qualified to answer that.

    Regular soda is a different issue due to the sugar, but obviously this isn't an issue in diet soda.

    There's that whole old-wives tale about putting a tooth into a bottle of any kind of soda and how it will dissolve. Hardly a real life scenario to say the least.

    I've heard about the acidity wearing away the enamel possibly, but by word of mouth, not scientific sources.

    So anyways is diet soda really bad for dental health or is it no big deal?
     
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  3. ivorinedust

    ivorinedust Senior Member
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    It's probably not too bad, unless you eat cake with it.:)

    Ivorinedust

    "Apolonia, relieve my toothache!"
     
  4. SquidsLife

    SquidsLife Navy to NiTi
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    The low pH of carbonated beverages dissolves enamel (that's how dental caries destroys tooth structure as well!) and contributes to an acidic oral environment. It definately doesn't contribute to good dental health.
     
  5. Cyclysm

    Cyclysm Member
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    it is true that given the choice between diet and regular obviously the diet is going to be better. but, the problem with diet is the acidity. from what i know, the pH of diet soda is around 2.5-3. by comparison stomach and battery acid are about pH 1. I am guilty of drinking lots of diet soda, but the thought of soaking my teeth in such a low pH (highly acidic) solution does make me a bit more conscious of it. the best way to combat this is to: a) drink the soda with a meal, b) do not swish it around your mouth (some people like the carbonation), c) drink water after finishing a soda. for some people the switch from regular to diet is a huge step, and that should be applauded. it makes me cringe seeing kids sucking down liters of mountain dew.
     
  6. cardsurgguy

    cardsurgguy Senior Member
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    I saw on somewhere about drinking soda through a straw so it doesn't hit your teeth and just goes straight to the back of your throat before you swallow it.

    What are your opinions on this? Logically, it would see to work...
     
  7. toothfairy85

    toothfairy85 Guest

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    After I got my teeth whitened my dentist said drinking through a straw would keep my teeth whiter for a longer period of time.
     
  8. 12YearOldKid

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    This is a common misconception, but even diet soda is a KILLER for your teeth.
     
  9. J2AZ

    J2AZ Senior Member
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    The big problem with soda is the length of time one keeps it in their mouth. If you sip on soda all day long diet or not you are gonna have problems. Also, if you swish you soda before swallowing or just hold it in your mouth thus increasing the exposure, you are gonna have more problems. Drink fast and you are better off.
     
  10. Midoc

    Midoc Senior Member
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    Diet soda cannot cause caries as it does not contain fermentable carbohydrates. It can however enhance the cariogenicity of other factors by lowering the pH of saliva and promoting demineralization. Remember that caries is a multifactorial disease and it is a balance of harmful and protective factors that determines if caries progresses or regresses.

    Additionally it can cause erosion, which may or may not be a factor for each patient. It depends primarily on duration and frequency.

    But, with all that in mind, if I can get a patient to switch from regular to diet soda I'm a happy dentist.
     
  11. Turnerjo13

    Turnerjo13 Ski Bum
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    It is important not to let sports drinks go unnoticed in this discussion. They are full of sugar and athletes will suck on them all day long.
     
  12. Midoc

    Midoc Senior Member
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    Soldiers too.
     
  13. dheav005

    dheav005 keepin' it movin'
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    the AGD's journal actually published a study in the last issue (Commercial soft drinks: pH and in vitro dissolution of enamel). therein lies the problem with diet sodas...even without sugar, their pH is so far below the pH at which enamel dissolves that the enamel is damaged even without the presence of fermentable carbs. basically, it is etching the enamel while bathing it in a carmel colored solution. no good for that toilet bowl white smile folks seem to want...
     
  14. jeninny44

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  15. Cyclysm

    Cyclysm Member
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    cool figures, but i do not believe that the majority of people say "coke" in the south. living in georgia for four years (and having a girlfriend from jacksonville, in gainesville now) i rarely heard people refer to it as "coke" it was always "soda"
     
  16. doctorloomis

    doctorloomis Junior Member
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    Actually, "coke" is the overwhelmingly popular term in the south. Metropolitan and suburban areas may differ such as Gainsville and Atlanta, but elsewhere it is instantly recognizable. If someone says, "I'd like a coke", then it generally means that you prefer a Coca-Cola, but if they have Pepsi or Dr. Pepper then that will suffice as well. Any other drink is referenced by name like Mountain Dew, Baja Blast (very good), or Sprite. The terms "soda" and "pop" are recognizable by most anyone, but used only sparingly around here. I can only speak for my area in the south though.
     
  17. dentalman

    dentalman Senior Member
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    Right on. A FREQUENT and CONSTANT exposure to acid or sugar will cause problems. Acid can cause erosion (people who work with wine all day long - constantly tasting and swishing - are at risk). Sugar causes caries, which of course is caused by the acidic waste products of the bacteria.

    So, if you have a soda (diet or regular) with your meal, it shouldn't be that much of a problem. If you have that same soda over 2 or 3 hours, it will be worse. Of course, multiply that habit over many months and you will see the clinical results. Ideally, no soda is best, but that is tough to do.
     
  18. Cyclysm

    Cyclysm Member
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    oh i understand that coke is like the kleenex of the soda world. but people in the north are under the assumption that southerners say: "can i have a coke, please" and the server says back "sure, what kind?" "oh, lets go with a sprite today."
     
  19. dheav005

    dheav005 keepin' it movin'
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    um, thats how we roll in parts of tennessee that i frequent. of course, i mostly drink the nectar of the gods known as sweet tea...
     
  20. SuperC

    SuperC SuperC DMD
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    Just an aside,
    I had a professor tell me that if the plant that bottles the soda uses city water (which many do) the demineralization of the enamel plus fluoride and following remineralization can in the short term help strengthen the teeth. I am not sure that I by that but it is one dentists opinion.

    Also, I am from Florida and I have ALWAYS said coke.

    -C
     
  21. TexDDS

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    I don't know what y'all are talking about with this "Coke" and "Pepsi" stuff. The only soda we got here in Texas is Dr. Pepper.
     
  22. JMJRDH1

    JMJRDH1 Floss User
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    My Dad is from the South, and all I ever heard from the locals for soda was "pop".
     
  23. 1992Corolla

    1992Corolla CheerioKing
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    drinking water is the best thing to do, or prevident 5000.
     
  24. I'mFillingFine

    I'mFillingFine Pulptastic
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    :laugh:
     
  25. cardsurgguy

    cardsurgguy Senior Member
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    So it seems like the best is not to drink it.

    But if you're going to drink it, I would imagine the straw thing would be the best thing to do.

    After all, if the soda can't hit your teeth (since you're swallowing it right after it comes out of the straw), then it can't harm your teeth, right?
     
  26. rals

    rals Member
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    sounds right, BUT as a med student you should also be aware of the fact that aspartame (sugar substitute) is an excitotoxin and although this is hotly debated, it may be dangerous for the nervous system, etc.
     

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