According to a report published in the March / April edition of General Dentistry, phosphoric acid in soda causes tooth enamel erosion, even with minimal exposure. While some consumers may believe that sugar is the only culprit of soda's adverse effects on dental health, enamel erosion occurs whether the soda is sweetened with sugar or artificial sweeteners.
"Drinking any type of soft drink poses risk to the health of your teeth," said Kenton Ross, a dentist and spokesman for the Academy of General Dentistry.
"My patients are shocked to hear that many of the soft drinks they consume contain nine to 12 teaspoons of sugar, and have an acidity that approaches the level of battery acid," Ross said.
Americans drink more than 50 gallons per capita of carbonated soft drinks each year, according to the Beverage Marketing Corporation, which tracks beverage consumption in nine areas: bottled water, coffee, fruit beverages, milk, tea, beer, wine, spirits and "CSDs" or carbonated soft drinks. Of the nine, carbonated soft drinks make up the largest segment of beverages consumed. The United States has the highest per-capita CSD consumption in the world.
Soft drinks are infused with phosphoric acid to add a tangy flavor. In nature, this type of flavor can be found in ginger or lemon. Inexpensive and widely available, phosphoric acid is also used in fertilizers and detergents, including industrial cleaners. Even "food grade" thermal phosphoric acid is known to sometimes contain arsenic.
"Phosphoric acid is used in shipyards to remove rust from aircraft carriers and transport ships," explained Mike Adams, author of The Five Soft Drink Monsters, a book that teaches consumers how to beat their addiction to sugary sodas. "Consuming highly acidic substances is not only bad for your teeth but also terrible for bone health and can promote a deterioration of the jawbone, pelvis and femur. Essentially, drinking phosphoric acid dissolves away your skeletal system," Adams said.