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Clinician’s Corner: Soda and your teeth

It is no secret that soda consumption has dramatically increased over the past 50 years, and has taken a toll on our teeth. According to the New York times 5% of the federal “food stamp” budget (SNAP) is spent on these soft drinks, while the category of “sweetened beverages” (energy drinks, fruit juices and teas) accounts for 10% of the grocery bill. The Department of Agriculture is coming under fire for “subsidizing the soda industry” https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/13/well/eat/food-stamp-snap-soda.html?_r=0

Here is the history of how much soda Americans consume:

  • 1970- Americans consumed 20 gallons soda per year (7-oz/day)
  • 1981- Americans consumed 32 gallons soda per year (11oz/day)
  • 2002- Americans consumed 54 gallons soda per year (20oz/day)
  • 2015- Americans consumed 41 gallons soda per year (14oz/day)

It’s called “pop” in the Midwest and most of Canada. It’s “soda” in the Northeast. And it goes by a well-known brand name in much of the South. In Blair County, where we live is on the edge of the “pop versus soda” line. Folks to our west in Pittsburgh call it “pop” and the folks to our east call it “soda”.

Yes there is a website: popvssoda.com !!

  • Larger serving sizes make the problem worse. From 6.5 ounces in the 1950s, the typical soft

drink had grown to up to 20 ounces by the 1990s.

Three ingredients in this delicious, fizzy drink cause the problems with our teeth:

  • Sugar : obvious contributor to dental caries. Note that this also includes corn syrup! This we see

regularly as one of the top food additives to avoid in our diet for better health!!

  • Phosphoric acid : gives the “bite” to soft drinks. The pH of soda, and our mouths have a lot to do

with the destruction of the enamel of our teeth.

  • pH of a soft drink ranges from 2.47-3.35
  • pH in our mouth is normally about 6.2 to 7.0
  • At a pH of 5.2 to 5.5 or below the acid begins to dissolve enamel on our teeth
  • Citric acid: Non-cola drinks contain citric acid which is also harmful to teeth

So, as you can see, these acidic drinks can “burn away” the enamel on our teeth. A local dentist related to me that pharmacists and dentists need to educate our patients. “It is necessary to educate out patients about the harmful effects of excessive soft drink consumption and to advise them with the following tips to prevent dental erosion and caries: limiting soft drink intake, choosing low erosive soft drinks, improving their drinking habits, toothbrushing at least twice per day, and avoiding brushing teeth within 1 hour after consuming acidic food, and using a fluoride or a remineralizing toothpaste.”

So skip the soda.. and grab a water!  The water from the faucet is the cheapest!!!

Trust your Thompson Pharmacist to guide you to better health… at Thompson Pharmacy, it’s all for you!