Diet Sodas Aren’t So Good for Teeth

I haven’t had a full-sugar soda in several years, but I still enjoy a few diet sodas a week. And, I've occasionally heard, off-handedly, that diet sodas can cause tooth decay just as their full-sugar cousins can. For what it’s worth, I switched to diet soda for the caloric savings, not specifically for the dental advantages (I almost typed “dental benefits” there, but that would have had an entirely different connotation than I intended.) However, as I like to have healthy teeth, I didn’t really want to drink beverages that might work against that (assuming that the notion was true).

A couple months back, I applied my Google-fu and though to get to the bottom of this. As it turns out, it was harder than I thought since some dental professionals said that diet soda doesn’t cause tooth decay while other dental folks said that diet soda does cause tooth decay. Yeesh. At the time, I just gave up on the question and made a mental note to revisit the issue later.

Well, I tried Googling again today and I came across a more definitive answer. One resource that looked promising was a pamphlet sent to parents from the Ohio Dental Association:

While excessive sugar is not healthy, it’s the acid in diet and regular soda that can damage tooth enamel and cause cavities and tooth decay. Acid can begin to harm tooth enamel in only 20 minutes.

That just about concluded my search, though I checked Google once more to see if I could find a national (or international) source in addition to this state-wide source. And, I came across this message from the Academy of General Dentistry about diet soda:

Drinking carbonated soft drinks regularly can contribute to the erosion of tooth enamel surfaces, according to the Academy of General Dentistry.


Because saliva helps neutralize acids and wash your teeth clean, the worst time to drink soda pop, ironically, is when you are very thirsty or dehydrated due to low levels of saliva. “The larger the volume of intake, the more impact soda pop has on your teeth,” says Gordon Isbell, III, DDS, MAGD, a spokesdentist for the Academy of General Dentistry. “Diet sodas are part of the problem. Women especially like to drink them throughout the day and between meals because they have no calories, yet the higher frequency and volume is putting their teeth at risk.” […]

You hadn’t heard of the “Academy of General Dentistry”? Well, neither had I — but they’re apparently “a non-profit organization of more than 37,000 general dentists”. I suppose that puts the question to rest, then; now I just need to figure out what I can drink instead of diet soda. (I probably won’t cut it out completely, but perhaps my teeth will thank me for drinking less of it.)

PS Is anyone else appalled — and, at the same time, amused — by the Academy’s unnecessary coinage of the term “spokesdentist”? ;)

Splenda Coke!

I’ve been pining for Splenda Coke for some time, but it looks like my wish may come to fruition. Apparently, Coke is considering introducing a new Coke variety in 2005 made with Splenda (!).

The new drink, which could be called Coke Zero, Coke Light, Tab or a variation of Tab, would have no calories and be sweetened with sucralose and another artificial sweeter, according to a report in Beverage Digest.

The product is still in the “concept testing” phase, Beverage Digest said. A spokeswoman for Coca-Cola refused to confirm or deny speculation that the drink was in the works. […]

Of course, sucralose-based colas are already here, namely Diet RC and Diet Rite (both of which are made by the same company, but Diet RC also has caffeine). And I could probably drink Diet RC for the rest of my life and not mind it, but Splenda Coke has the additional advantage of Coca Cola’s marketing muscle — it should be available just about anywhere.

7-Up Plus

Cadbury Schweppes is introducing a new beverage, 7-Up Plus. The big selling point to me is that it’s just like regular 7-Up, but with Splenda! As a bonus, it also has all kinds of vitamins in there as well:

Dr Pepper/Seven Up said the product, dubbed 7 UP PLUS, would be “a carbonated beverage fortified with calcium, vitamin C, real fruit juice and sweetened with Splenda.” […]

This new 7-Up Plus isn’t completely “full of nothing” as it has 10 calories and 3g carbs. But I can live with that — it’s close enough to nothing for me. In any case, it's one more Splenda-based soda on the market. And other than a few obscure store brands, I believe all of the Splenda-based sodas out there are from RC / Diet Rite (also a subsidiary of Cadbury Schweppes).

For what it’s worth there&Rsquo;re apparently seven flavors of Diet Rite, but I’ve only seen three of them at my local Super Target: Diet Rite Cola, Diet Rite Raspberry and Diet Rite White Grape (of which I have fridge-packs of all three in my fridge at the moment). So, while 7-Up Plus isn’t without calories, it would be the closest thing to a Splenda-based lemon/lime soda and I’m looking forward to it.

(Via CarbWire)

Diet Root Beer Floats: Not a Good Idea

On Friday, Mike decided to make himself a root beer float. At the time, I resisted since I was about to eat dinner soon (it was about 6pm at the time). Mike made his float with a half-full IBC that had apparently been in the back of the fridge for quite some time. And, even though it was a bit flat, Mike said that the float still turned out well.

I went to an autocross on Saturday and, after returning, I thought that a root beer float could be rather tasty. And, I recalled that I still had a can of Diet A&W in my mini-fridge. I wasn’t sure how the float would turn out with diet soda, but I figured that I could always pour it out if I needed to.

I ventured to the freezer and took out a frozen beer mug along with some Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla ice cream (the same ice cream that Mike used for his float the day before). I grabbed an ice cream scoop and added two scoops to the mug. I then added the root beer and, as root beer floats tend to do, it foamed up easily and so it took me several careful pours to get all the root beer in the mug.

It had been years since my last root beer float (perhaps ten years), and I was really looking forward to drinking it. After all, root beer and ice cream are two great tastes that taste great together. As I lifted my glass, I pondered for a moment whether the lack of sugar would have any effect on the float; but, I set that thought aside and took a big gulp. Man, it was awful.

Somehow — and perhaps due to the combination of the frozen mug along with the frozen ice cream — the root beer had frozen into chunks of rootbeersicles. It was as if I had a mug of ice cream with some caramel-colored ice tossed in. And, the full-fat/full-sugar nature of the Blue Bell only served to emphasize the watered-down quality of this pathetic root beer.

In the end, I really wanted to like it. I even tried grabbing a spoon so that I could just extract the ice cream bits. But, the root-ice had permeated the beverage and infected all of it. I had no choice but to pour it all down the drain. So, I not only didn’t end up with a tasty beverage, but I’m still itching for a good root beer float (or even a decent one). Perhaps I’ll have to buy a real root beer so that I'll be ready for next time.