Hiram College

Sipping All Day, Results in Decay


Soda is no longer an occasional treat. It has become a daily habit for a growing number of people, especially teens and young adults. A steady diet of soda is the leading cause of tooth decay.


How do you get cavities?

  • Sugar in soda combines with the bacteria in your mouth to form acid.
  • Diet or “sugar-free” sodas contain their own acid.
  • The acid attacks your teeth. Each attack lasts about 20 minutes.
  • The ongoing acid attack weakens your tooth enamel.
  • Bacteria in your mouth cause cavities in the weakened areas of your teeth.


How to reduce decay?

  • Drink soda in moderation.
  • Drink water. It has no sugar, no acid and no calories.
  • Use a straw to keep the soda away from your teeth.
  • After drinking soda, rinse your mouth out to dilute the sugar.
  • Use fluoride toothpaste to protect your teeth.


The hard facts about soda:

  • There is no nutritional value in soda. In regular soda all of the calories come from sugar.
  • Today, teens drink three times more soda than 20 years ago, often replacing milk.
  • Sealants only protect tooth chewing surfaces. Soda decay occurs where sealants can’t reach.
  • In addition to cavities, heavy soda consumption has been linked to diabetes, obesity and osteoporosis.


Acid (Low = Bad)                                                              Sugar Per 12 oz. serving

  • Pure water 7.0 (neutral)                                                     0 tsp.
  • Barq’s Root Beer 4.0                                                          11 tsp.
  • Minute Maid OJ 3.8                                                            9 tsp.
  • Red Bull 3.3                                                                      10 tsp.
  • Diet Coke 3.1                                                                    0 tsp.
  • Diet Pepsi 3.0                                                                    0 tsp.
  • Gatorade 2.9                                                                     5 tsp.
  • Pepsi 2.5                                                                          11 tsp.
  • Coke 2.4                                                                          10 tsp.
  • Battery Acid 1.0                                                                 0 tsp.


Source: Minnesota Dental Association, 2002.