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May 8, 2012
Popular Diet and Regular Drinks Almost As Corrosive As Battery Acid On Your Teeth

Beverage consumption in most developed countries of the world is now a major contributor of tooth decay. Many sodas and diet soft drinks approach the pH level of battery acid in terms of corrosiveness and erosion of tooth enamel. Our susceptibility to tooth decay and cavities has much more to do with what we put in our bodies, rather than regular visits to our dentist or even how often we brush our teeth. If you want to prevent tooth decay, a 'great' idea is to stay away from acidic beverages which dissolve tooth enamel and offer no nutritional value to your body.

Prevention of Cavities is Your Responsibility Not Your Dentist

You are entirely responsible for the cavities you get in your teeth, and most importantly, you have complete control of either causing or preventing tooth decay. What goes into your body also includes avoiding addictive drugs like methamphetamine, which makes teeth very susceptible to decay by playing havoc with the immune system. Whether or not you get cavities and tooth decay is entirely an internal process you can control and regular visits to your dentists will have little effect compared to dietary intervention.

From a holistic perspective, if you are willing to follow a healthy life style by consuming the right kinds of foods and drinks, including fruits and vegetables and other foods that are organic, whole grain, unprocessed or raw, and contain no added sugars, chemicals or
synthetic ingredients of any kind, if you exercise regularly, and if you avoid drugs and environmental toxins, you will bring about two critically important changes to make you healthier. First, you will create an internal, slightly alkaline, health promoting environment in your body. Second, you will make your immune system very strong - so strong that no disease causing organism can survive in it for long. In truth, you wouldn’t need dentists at all under these ideal circumstances. You certainly do not need toxic fluoride in the water supply and conventional tooth pastes which cause cancer, osteoporosis, infertility, and fluorosis.

The largest study of tooth decay in America (by the National Institute of Dental Research in 1987) proved that there was no significant difference in the decay rates of 39,000 fluoridated, partially fluoridated and non-fluoridated children, ages 5 to 17, surveyed in 84 cities. The media has never disclosed these facts.

Exposure To Soft Drinks Destroys Enamel

Prolonged exposure to soft drinks can lead to significant enamel loss, even though many people consider soft drinks to be harmless or just worry about their sugar content and the potential for putting on poundsĀ 

The erosive potential of colas is 10 times that of fruit juices in just the first three minutes of drinking, a study showed. The research, published in Academy of General Dentistry (AGD) journal General Dentistry, reports that drinking any type of soft drink hurts teeth due to the citric acid and/or phosphoric acid in the beverages.

Non-colas are less acidic than colas overall, the study found, but they erode the teeth more effectively than colas.

The University of Ottawa has shown that sugars, bacteria and acidity levels of foods and beverages are all contributors to cavities. Tooth enamel begins to dissolves at 5.5 pH and you progress down the scale, erosion increases. The safest beverage for tooth health is pure water.

The study measured the acidity, or pH, of 20 commercial soft drinks, including Coke, Pepsi, 7 Up and their diet versions, immediately after cans were opened. Then slices of enamel from freshly extracted teeth were weighed before and after being immersed in the soft drinks for 48 hours.

The result was that the teeth immersed in Coke, Pepsi, RC Cola, Squirt, Surge, 7 Up and Diet 7 Up lost more than 5 percent of their weight, according to the report by Poonam Jain of the Southern Illinois University School of Dental Medicine and her colleagues. (Other sodas brought about losses in the enamel weight in the range of 1.6 percent to 5 percent).

AGD spokesman Kenton Ross said that RC Cola was found to be the most acidic soft drink studied, with a pH of 2.387 (the pH scale ranges from 0 to 14 for most liquids, with 0 being the most acidic and 14 being the least acidic--or most alkaline). Cherry Coke was found to be the next most acidic (pH of 2.522), and Coke was the third most acidic soda tested (pH of 2.525).

Battery acid has a pH of 1.0. Pure water at room temperature has a pH of 7.0.

The results show that a soda's acidity is not the whole story when it comes to tooth erosion. The type of acid in the soda, level of soda and calcium content are also factors. Citric acid is the most erosive acid found in soft drinks and is the predominant acid in non-cola drinks.

"The bottom line is that the acidity in all soft drinks is enough to damage your teeth and should be avoided," Ross said in a prepared statement.

Foods may also be a problem, even those considered healthy. For example, many foods low in sugar may also be high in acidity which is detrimental to enamel. Many yogurts developed by Nestle such as Finding Nemo Yogurt and their Diet Yogurts are low in sugar with high acidity levels.

The Problem with Citric Acid

Here's an ingredient to look out for when you check ingredient lists. Excessive consumption of foods and beverages that contain citric acid can contribute to erosion of tooth enamel. Citric acid is an organic compound that is often used as a preservative in canned and frozen foods. It is also used to flavor soft drinks and certain foods. Some amount of citric acid is naturally present in many fruits and vegetables. But regardless of the source, too much citric acid can be hard on the teeth.

The citric acids in fruits and carbonated soft drinks dissolve the calcium salts that make up the surface of teeth. When the surface of a tooth becomes decalcified and soft, plaque forms and erodes tooth enamel. Teeth stripped of enamel are brittle and sensitive to pain. Furthermore, once enamel breaks down, bacteria can invade and cause decay.

Researchers at the University of Iowa's College of Dentistry found that energy drinks and sports drinks, such as Gatorade and Red Bull, eroded the enamel more than soda and fruit juices. In a 2008 study published in the journal Nutrition Research, the dentists soaked extracted human teeth in various liquids for 25 hours, and then measured the structural changes, or lesions.

"Power drinks can be quite acidic, usually because there is an addition of citric acid to those to give it tartness that is desired by some consumers," said Dr. Clark Stanford, the associate dean for research at the University of Iowa College of Dentistry. "It's important to look at the label and see if citric acid has been added."

Carbonated soda drinks create a double whammy on your teeth. This is because, in addition to all the sugar in them, they also contain very acidic ingredients, like phosphoric acid in sodas, and citric acid in citrus flavored drinks. The carbonation water is itself mildly acidic. All this extra acid makes the acid concentration on your teeth even greater than what you normally get from the sugar fermented by bacteria. The result is that your teeth may decay and develop cavities even faster. Are these drinks worth the double risks of tooth decay and diabetes?

Preventing Cavities

You won't find it served at your dentist's office just yet, but drinking black tea between meals may help reduce cavities and plaque.

The Tea Trade Health Research Association found several doses of black tea every day not only reduced plaque build-up but also helped control bacteria.

"We found that the black tea infusion can inhibit or suppress the growth of bacteria that promotes cavities and affect their ability to attach to tooth surfaces,"' said Christine Wu, professor of periodontics at the University of Illinois and lead researcher on one part of the study.

Propolis, the glue-like material that bees make from the resin of trees and plants and their own secretions halts an enzyme in streptococcus mutans, a microorganism found in the mouths of humans and animals that may be a culprit behind tooth decay.

A small number of studies have found benefits for probiotics in preventing cavities and easing gum disease. Supplements and foods fortified with additional probiotics may provide further relief, scientists say.

It is the missing vitamins in our diet that is the primary cause of tooth cavities. Not a lack of fluoride tooth brushing, or dental visits. By consuming whole and unrefined foods, and not just vegetables, but foods not commonly eaten today, such as liver, bone marrow, unpastuerized milk and butter from grassfed cows, and more, we can reclaim our natural ability to have health teeth and bones.

Natasha Longo has a master's degree in nutrition and is a certified fitness and nutritional counselor. She has consulted on public health policy and procurement in Canada, Australia, Spain, Ireland, England and Germany.



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