Society has started to create a big distinction between a sugar-free or diet soda compared to a regular soda. We are all under the impression that since diet or sugar-free sodas have no calories and barely contain any fat, that they are good for our health. Well, we are wrong. Although diet coke may not have a drastic affect on your weigh in every month, it does damage to other places in your body. The famous saying, “Sip a day, get decay” doesn’t strictly apply to regular soda. All sodas have harmful effects on teeth, just in different ways.
Diet soda and sugar-free drinks are very unique. They don’t contain the same sugars or acids as a regular soda but they do have their own acids. These acids flare up the moment soda touches a mouth. Billions of acids start to attack the enamel, weakening and yellowing the teeth. These attacks last for about 20 minutes after each sip. These acids are called, phosphoric and citric acids. Phosphoric acids are a clear and odorless liquid that feels the same way syrup would. It is used to give coca-cola it’s taste. These acid wear down the tooth enamel. The acids react with the plaque on our teeth which contains multiple bacterias. These bacterias lead to tooth decay, breakdown in gums, and attacks about any other substances that are supposed to support the teeth.
The pH of a liquid under 5.0 has the power to cause tooth decay. Although most acidic drink that are good for us, for example orange juice or lemon juice, have a low pH which causes tooth decay, they do good things in different parts of our bodies. Like I previously stated, soda doesn’t have any benefits to our bodies and with a low pH, ranging from 2.5-4.0, you might think the same question I did: Why drink it?
As a non-soda drinker, I was very interested to see how people would answer this question. I decided to conduct my own survey with 25 Penn State students. My null hypothesis was that people who drink soda have the same amount of cavities as a person who does’t drink soda. My alternative hypothesis was that people who drink soda have, on average, more cavities than a person who does not drink soda. My results concluded that my alternative hypothesis was correct.
How I did the experiment: I asked each of the 25 people two questions.
1. Do you drink soda?
2. How many cavities have you had in your life.
My results were not surprising. 16/25 people drank soda and of that 16, 60% that had 4 or more cavities in their life. Only 30% of the non-soda drinkers had 4 or less cavities in their life. Correlation? I think so. My conclusion was, if you drink soda, your teeth will rot in the ways that I listed above. To support my conclusion, Business Insider wrote about a study done by Temple University. It compared three adults mouth’s: one 29 year old who was addicted to meth, one their early thirties who drank 2-liters of diet-soda a day, and a 51 year old who was addicted crack for 18 years. Mohamed Bassiouny, the head director of the experiment, found that each of the adults had almost the exact amount of decay happening to their teeth. He controlled most of the other factors so his findings were correct. His conclusion was, if you drink soda, your mouth can be as damaged as a person that has abused substances. Now, if that doesn’t stop a person from drinking soda I don’t think anything will.