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New Studies Reveal the Severe Dangers of Colas and Teas

If you are one of the 95 percent of Americans who cannot live without having an icy, cold soda each day, then choose root beer because it is the one drink that does the least amount of damage to your teeth.

According to a study from The University of Maryland, Baltimore recently published in General Dentistry, the peer-reviewed clinical journal of the Academy of General Dentistry, researchers determined that non-cola soft drinks, including ginger ale, Mountain Dew and Sprite, as well as canned iced tea are much harder on teeth enamel than any other kind of canned drink due in large part to acidic flavor additives, such as such as malic acid or tartaric acid. Root beer has the least amount of additives, making it the best soft drink for your teeth.

According to Dr. Bruce Hartley cosmetic dentist and founder of The Peninsula Center of Cosmetic Dentistry in Los Altos, California, "This study on soft drinks is very significant for consumers. We only have one set of teeth in our life and it is of utmost importance to start paying close attention to the irreversible damage these drinks have on our dental health."

According to the study, by exposing healthy dental enamel to a variety of popular soft drinks including Coke, Pepsi, Mountain Dew, Dr. Pepper, Sprite, Canada Dry ginger ale and canned Arizona Iced Tea, researchers were able to assess that all of them weakened and permanently destroyed tooth enamel.

The study founded the following significant results in fourteen days:

• Diet sodas had the same bad effect as the sugared versions since the main culprit is the acidic additives.

• The most harmful were non-cola drinks, which caused two to five times the damage as darker cola drinks.

• Root beer, which contains the least amount of flavor additives, was found to be the "safest soft drink to safeguard dental enamel."

• Canned iced tea caused 30 times the damage to tooth enamel as brewed tea or coffee.

• Brewed black tea, root beer, coffee and water had a minimal effect.

Dr. Hartley adds, "Soft drinks account for 27 percent of beverages consumed in the United States. They are so acidic that they can actually dissolve the upper layers of the tooth. In addition to the acidity of soda and other drinks, another problem is our own mouth acidity. If that increases, the chemical reaction with the soft drink ends up hurting our teeth even more which results in significant tooth decay."

HOW CAN WE PROTECT OUR TEETH?

In order to protect your teeth, Dr. Hartley recommends rinsing with water immediately after drinking a soft drink and brushing at least 30 to 60 minutes later. Dr. Hartley adds, "Waiting to brush allows the tooth enamel to mount its own defense against acidic erosion, typically through protective agents in the saliva that help repair and rebuild damaged tooth enamel. Brushing too soon not only destroys this opportunity, but also brushes off the affected layers of the teeth."

SHOULD WE GIVE UP ON SODA ENTIRELY?

According to Dr. Hartley, "The dental school faculty at South Africa's University of Stellenbosch did a comparison test on the effects of orange juice, apple juice, Pepsi Cola, and Diet Pepsi. The study found that while fruit juices definitely provide more vitamins than soda, they are also acidic and cause demineralization and softening of the teeth. Orange juice and Pepsi were found to be equally harmful to teeth, followed next by apple juice. Finally, Diet Pepsi was not only the least likely drink to soften the teeth, but also the least likely to cause cavities. To avoid dental aches and pains, your best bet is to avoid soft drinks and juices and just stick to drinking water or naturally unsweetened teas that have less acidity, no sugar or other additives."

NOTE: Dr. J. Anthony Von Fraunhofer a professor and Director of Biomaterials Science, Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, University of Maryland Baltimore Dental School conducted this study.

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