Since we were kids, we’ve heard about the terrors of drinking soda. From those science experiments showing a tooth decomposing in a petri dish filled with Coke, to a lecture on how sugar can cause cavities, we got the point. As an adult, we try to be more conscious. We get sugar-free syrup at our favorite coffee shop, avoid the candy jar at work, and avoid soda altogether by drinking the delicious nectar of flavored seltzer water like La Croix.
That’s okay, isn’t it?
Unfortunately, it seems that La Croix has betrayed us. Even though a can contains zero calories, and zero sugar, there’s still more to the story.
What Causes Tooth Decay?
The short answer to what causes tooth decay is generally acid produced by bacteria. Our mouth contains a lot of bacteria, but it’s not all bad. It helps our bodies pre-digest food, and can actually transfer messages to the bacteria in our stomach to prepare for a certain type of nutrient. Some bacteria, specifically streptococcus mutans, which feed on starch and sugar, can overpopulate when given too much food, and begin to produce an acid as a byproduct of their digestion. This acid is what actually demineralizes our enamel, leaving our teeth susceptible to decay, which means cavities and fillings.
But There’s No Sugar in La Croix?
La Croix is no doubt a healthier substitute to soda, and it doesn’t contain sugar. What it does contain is acid. When manufacturers add pressurized carbon dioxide to a drink, it can make a drink more acidic. If your favorite flavor happens to be lemon, orange, grapefruit, or another citrus, the infusion of flavor can also make the seltzer more acidic. When drinking in excess, the acid in carbonated water can wear down enamel in much the same way as an excess of sugar. This can weaken the structure of your teeth, making it easier for cavities to form. But this acid erosion can be worse than cavities. Cavities affect just small areas of your tooth, but erosion attacks all parts of the tooth that it touches. You might need a crown instead of a filling!
There is some good news here, though. La Croix is only mildly acidic. Although the exact acidity varies with flavors, soda is 100-1000 times more acidic than La Croix and other mineral waters.
Same Goes for Spicy Food — even Sriracha!
Spicy foods and condiments have many wonderful properties. They can temporarily increase your metabolism, promote weight loss, help you sweat out toxins, and just plain improve the taste of your food! The problem, of course, is there not too great for your teeth. Not only can they be incredibly acidic, eroding enamel, but they also contain several staining agents that can make your teeth yellow. Your teeth are more susceptible to stains after ingesting something acidic, like wine or sour beer, so it’s always a good idea to rinse your mouth out with water afterwards.
Whatever you do, don’t reach for a toothbrush. Up to thirty minutes after eating or drinking something acidic, a toothbrush can actually brush away enamel.
The best way to keep your mouth free of cavities, even if you’re a La Croix drinker, is by visiting the dentist at least every six months for a cleaning and check-up.
Research has shown that maintaining good oral health helps you stay healthy and can even help treat some serious health conditions. For help with your oral health in Pueblo, please call (719) 545-1400 today for an appointment with a dentist at Advantage Dental Group.