Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Other soft drinks strike out, but root beer a hit

Soft drinks have not been getting much positive press of late.

Obesity, diabetes and the like have been linked to excessive sugar intake, much of it from soft drinks. Root beer, however, is getting some good press out of the whole mess because the Academy of General Dentistry says root beer may be the safest soft drink for teeth.

According to a study published in the March/April 2007 issue of General Dentistry, the AGD's clinical, peer-reviewed journal, exposing teeth to soft drinks, even for a short period of time, causes dental erosion—and prolonged exposure can lead to significant enamel loss. Root beer products, however, are non-carbonated and do not contain the acids that harm teeth.

Even diet drinks can be harmful to teeth. While they may not contain sugar, they do contain phosphoric acid, citric acid or both and still cause dental erosion, though considerably less than their sugared counterparts.

"Drinking any type of soft drink poses risk to the health of your teeth," says AGD spokesperson Kenton Ross, DMD.

He recommends that patients consume fewer soft drinks by limiting their intake to meals. He also advises patients to drink with a straw, which will reduce soda's contact with teeth.

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