Reconsidering Diet Sodas …

In an effort to stop weight gain, millions of Americans turn to diet sodas (and other “diet” drinks) every day for fewer calories, energy, and the satisfaction of drinking something that “tastes good”.

Of course, there is no evidence available that actually says we lose weight because of drinking these diet drinks. Yes, we may be consuming less calories, but that’s only the payoff. The risk is that we’re not only putting unnatural compounds in our bodies, but psychologically we think we can eat more because we’ve saved calories by drinking a diet drink.

Wrong! Think again.

From a dental standpoint, all sodas and many of the other “energy” drinks can have disastrous effects on our oral health. Even though you may not be introducing sugar into your body, you’re bathing your mouth with a variety of acids (for example, citric acid, phosphoric acid) and sugar alcohols – both of which not only lower the relative acidity of your mouth (pH), but case the tooth covering (enamel) to slowly dissolve, causing cavities, sensitive teeth, dissolution of dental cements and bonding agents, and more. This can be particularly disastrous for older adults who may have a mouth full of decades of dental care they thought would last them “forever”. The cost can be staggering to re-restore a mouth with cavities and acid erosion around crowns, fillings, and other types of dental care.

From a medical point – and noteworthy to take to heart – recent studies have been evaluating the effect of drinking 2 or more diet sodas daily in women above the age of 40. In six years’ time, kidney function had decreased 30%. Other studies, such as one at Harvard Medical School, verified that drinking at least 2 diet sodas a day CLEARLY accelerated kidney function decline.

Why is this important?

For one, our kidneys are necessary for life. They are an important part of how our body rids itself of many metabolic and non-metabolic compounds. When you consider how many people also have high blood pressure, diabetes, and low physical activity level – which are other factors that negatively affect kidney function – you’re only accelerating the demise of your kidneys.

For the sake of your oral health and your general health, re-think your drink choices. There are lots out there to choose from, and the best – water – is the elixir of life.

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