Why should drinking soda terrify you?
No doubt, the best way to keep your body hydrated is drinking pure water. H2O is the foundation of life as we know it. The human body is about 60% water.
Yet, there are millions who prefer other beverages on a regular basis as part of their daily diet. Some of them might be healthy, while most of them are hyper palatable and processed sweet soft drinks. You can read more about the healthier options in a previous article about tea consumption and its benefits to oral health.
Sadly, there is an alarming increase in sugar-sweetened beverages and fruit juice consumption. The biggest problems with these fluids are the high acidity and sugar content.
Natural fruit juice might seem less harmful, since it’s coming from healthy sources, but the high sugar and acid content should raise concerns. When you are eating the whole fruit, you also consume fibers and other beneficial nutrients that are not present in juices. This way you end up taking fewer calories overall and the sugar load is less draining on the body.
- The sugar content of freshly squeezed orange juice is probably about two thirds of a soft drink, but still high in fructose
- Apple juice is sweeter, it’s equivalent to a soft drink
- The Pediatric Society a long time ago realized that juice has so much fructose that it was being associated with obesity in children
Diet and regular sodas have both been linked to obesity, kidney damage, and certain cancers. Regular soft drink consumption has been linked to elevated blood pressure.
High fructose intake probably plays a role in the growing number of non-alcoholic fatty liver diseases, as high fructose corn syrup has become abundant in processed food. An ingredient that is commonly used in soft drinks as well in the US.
Many products contain extra stimulants like caffeine, which can have further addictive potentials. These factors easily lead to an unhealthy amount and frequency of consumption. Especially concerning that younger age groups or groups with lower socio-economic status show increasing consumption. The very same groups that are at high risk of dental issues such as tooth decay.
The acid content immediately drops the mouth’s pH, which below a certain point is damaging to the enamel (the tooth’s outer hard structure). It’s quickly buffered by saliva, as a built in protective mechanism against naturally occurring acid attacks (e.g fruits, vomit), but repeated exposure has been shown to cause erosion on the teeth.
The acid damage is typically significant when one keeps sipping these drinks throughout the day. This applies to all acidy drinks whether sugar free or not.
The high sugar content is a key factor in the development of tooth decay. Frequent consumption of refined carbohydrates and sugars is altering the oral microbiota.
A so-called dysbiosis may occur when certain pathogens, like S. mutans, easily become abundant. These bacteria are causing tooth decay by turning sugar into an acid, and rapidly forming a sticky plaque where the salivary buffering capacity is blocked. Over time this leads to cavity formation and accelerating disease processes.
Consuming calories in liquid forms has several other detrimental health effects. Mainly due to the rapid increase in blood glucose level and the specific consequences of the fructose consumption. Learn more about How fructose drives metabolic disease | Rick Johnson, M.D. from Peter Attia M.D’s insightful podcast episodes.
Drinking soda and the overconsumption of natural juices have enormous public health consequences and are responsible for serious accumulated damage on an individual level.
The best way to stay hydrated and maintain good oral health is drinking clear water. Supplemented with occasional other healthy drink choices such as sugar free tea or coffee might be a healthy alternative. Drinking water after eating might be also helpful by washing away food particles and diluting acidity in the mouth.