Updated: 2/5/2020 48% of Americans drink soda daily, at an average of 2.6 glasses per day. That’s a total of 45 gallons of soda per year! As you can imagine,…

Worst Soda for Your Teeth

The Worst Soda for Your Teeth

Updated: 2/5/2020

48% of Americans drink soda daily, at an average of 2.6 glasses per day. That’s a total of 45 gallons of soda per year! As you can imagine, soda is pretty bad for your teeth, but are certain sodas worse than others? Here we’ll explore why soda is bad for your teeth, which ones are the worst, and options for saving your teeth without giving up the soda.

Soda’s Effect on Teeth

Soda is the largest source of sugar consumption among children and adolescents. However, while sugar is generally more harmful than helpful, that’s actually not the main reason that soda is bad for teeth. In addition to the high levels of sugar, soda also contains a lot of acid. This is a problem because acid dissolves tooth enamel, which causes teeth to weaken and become more cavity-prone.

There are two types of acid commonly used in soda: citric acid and phosphoric acid. Citric acid is used mainly in citrus drinks, such as Sprite or Mountain Dew. Phosphoric acid is found in colas and is typically the more harmful of the two.

The Acidity of Soda

Levels of acidity are measured using the pH scale. The lower the pH number, the more acidic a substance is. A pH of 7.00 is considered neutral.

The following chart from Comfort Care Dental shows where popular sodas (and a few other things) fall on the pH scale.

pH Chart for Soda Acidity

In general, diet sodas tend to be less acidic than their sugary counterparts, but only slightly. The worst offender? Coke with a pH of 2.63. Barq’s root beer does not contain phosphoric or citric acid and is therefore the least acidic soft drink with a pH of 4.61.

Solutions for Protecting Your Teeth

Obviously, the best solution would be to cut out soda altogether. Even fruit juice, which is still very acidic and contains a lot of added sugar, is better for your teeth than soda. However, if you can’t stay away from the bubbly beverage, try one of these solutions to protect your teeth.

  • Drink through a straw to minimize contact with your teeth
  • Rinse with water after drinking to wash away any lingering sugar or acid
  • Wait a while before brushing your teeth after drinking, or you’re just scrubbing the acid into your enamel
  • Try one of these alternatives to soda, which are less acidic and healthier in general:

Regardless of what you drink, be sure to consume it in moderation and balance it with plenty of water. Remember to always practice good dental habits like brushing and flossing daily, as doing so will reduce your risk of cavities making for a happier, healthier mouth. And don’t forget about regular trips to the dentist to help prevent diseases and maintain a healthy smile.

  1. When you refer to pure water on your chart as being 7.00 acidic and bottled water being 4.00 acidic, what is pure water? I am sure tap water is is high acidity and well water too.
    So where do you you purchase pure water?
    Where is the article you refer to regarding seltzer? I drink lemon / lime seltzer and Dasani water .

    • There is still a lot of sugar in Fanta. When you drink it, the sugar will settle on your teeth and can lead to cavities depending on how often you drink it.

  2. Well, now that I’m 80 I wish I would have listened to how bad soda was and taken more care of my teeth. Now it’s too late, because I have lost some teeth, have caps, root canals. Agnes

    • Sounds to me like you are doing well. I am mid sixties and have had crowns for years. I just had my first tooth extracted. Top rear, so not a loss. They proposed a root canal but upon extraction, they said good decision as it could not have been saved.

  3. In high school years ago, we put a nail in cola and watched it dissolve.
    I had a steam radiator with a corroded handle and could not turn down the heat. I put cola around the handle for a few days and it ate away the corrosion and then I could regulate the heat.
    I still like colas. My wife and I generally split one and try and keep consumption to one or two per week.

    • Unfortunately, seltzer water can also be harmful to your teeth if you drink it often. You might find this article helpful. It talks about some of the research done on seltzer water and its affect on teeth.

  4. sorry but I like soda. I cu it with water 50/50 taste like water and lite soda. is this o.k.? and why put so much acid in it in the first place? why so much sugar? surely you can cut out some of it./

  5. Well I guess if anyone is going to drink soda, it better be root beer! But avoiding soda altogether is by far the best. I hope this blog reaches the masses because it is really important information and puts things into perspective.

  6. Pingback: Worst Soda for Your Teeth - DentalTribe

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