Hello, Monroe! Welcome to the continuing blog from the office of Bayou Dental Group. This is an important forum because we can use it pass along ideas and concerns that relate to family dentistry and oral health. Whether the topic is foods to avoid, foods to eat more of, or a description of a new procedure, we will make it our business to get accurate and reliable information to you, the good people of Monroe, LA, so that you can make informed decisions about matter that will affect your health and that of your family.

Figuring out what to eat and what not to eat can be a challenge these days. Of course, you want to do your best to protect your oral health, but it is hard to do with the bevy of misinformation out there.

For example, if someone asked you what the worst thing for your teeth was, would you say? Sugar?

Sugar is definitely not good for your teeth, but it is does not work by itself when it is busy ruining your teeth. Acid is just as bad for your teeth as sugar is, but how often do you see a soda as advertised as “acid free”? Yet diet sodas boast the claim of “sugar free” all the time.

It doesn’t matter that diet soda are sugar free when they have enough acid in the to rot your teeth a few times over. But people still drink diet sodas, blissfully unaware of the damage they are doing to their teeth, because they don’t understand how tooth decay works.

Dental Caries and Tooth Decay

The bacteria known as dental caries is the true villain behind tooth decay. Dental caries invades your mouth when you are very young, maybe even before you have teeth. You are not born with it, but you will get it from your mom or another family member when you share your food or eating utensils.

These bacteria love to hang out in your mouth looking for stuff to eat. And what is its favorite food? You guessed it: good old sugar. While it may be unfair to to shoulder all the blame for tooth decay on sugar, it definitely plays a significant part. When dental caries eat sugar, they convert it into a highly corrosive acid that then goes to work on your tooth enamel. Enamel may be the strongest substance in your body, but it has a hard time standing up to acid.

Which is why diet sodas are so bad for your teeth. They are just plain loaded with acid, and they do a fine job of ruining your teeth without any help from sugar. The most common acids used to flavor diet sodas are phosphoric acid and citric acid, both of which are very hard on your teeth.

Phosphoric acid is especially nasty because it inhibits your body’s ability to process calcium. As you surely know, your body needs calcium to keep your bones strong. Also, calcium is used in the process called remineralization, which is how your teeth repair themselves by strengthening their enamel. It’s almost as if phosphoric acid’s main purpose is to destroy teeth.

That what makes it so unfortunate that people think their teeth are safe from decay when they drink diet soda. But if you remove the sugar and the acid from soda, what do you get?

Water.

Water is what everyone should be drinking all the time. It keeps you hydrated and protects your mouth from tooth decay. You can have a soda every now and then as a treat, just make sure you follow it up with a large glass of water.

And don’t forget to stop by our office in Monroe for a professional cleaning and examination.

Contact Bayou Dental Group to schedule an appointment.