According to a soon-to-be published study, exposing your teeth to soft drinks over a prolonged period of time can produce significant loss of dental enamel.
Even drinking soft drinks for a short period of time causes dental erosion. In dental erosion, acid acts on the entire surface of the tooth and it results in loss of the tooth structure. This applies to all carbonated soft drinks but root beer, because it is non carbonated, is the exception.
People tend to think of soft drinks as sugary but harmless. They think by drinking diet soft drinks, they avoid any problems inherent in consuming them. But diet drinks cause dental erosion as well because they contain phosphoric acid and/or citric acid.
The regular soft drinks cause the most harm. Last year a study concluded that the erosive potential of cola drinks is ten times that of fruit juices within the first three minutes of drinking. Non-colas cause an even greater amount of erosion than colas because they contain citric acid, a highly erosive agent.
According to a spokesperson for the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD), Dr. Kenton Ross: “Drinking any type of soft drink poses risk to the health of your teeth. My patients are shocked to hear that many of the soft drinks they consume contain nine to twelve teaspoons of sugar and have an acidity that approaches the level of battery acid.”
In the study, one brand of cola was ranked at 2.39 on the acidity scale. Battery acid has a rank of 1.0.
If you do consume soft drinks, Ross recommends you limit yourself to drinking them at meals which would help cut down on the intake amount. He also suggests drinking through a straw to reduce the liquid's contact with your teeth.
“The bottom line is that the acidity in all soft drinks is enough to damage your teeth and should be avoided,” he stressed.