Our teeth get cavities when the enamel on our teeth gets eaten away. The enamel is the outermost layer of the tooth (Miller 9). It’s harder than all the other things in your body, even your bones! The first step of cavities forming is when plaque, a soft and sticky film, builds up on the teeth and along the gums (Ferguson 26). You can get plaque from all the food or beverages you consume daily. The acids from the plaque will start to slowly eat the enamel of the teeth, causing tooth decay. If this is left untreated, the acids will progress to the inside of the teeth. Painful toothaches may result from this.
So now that we know how cavities form, what’s in soda that causes tooth decay? One of the factors of soda that contribute to cavities is the amount of sugar it contains. Most sodas have anywhere between 20-50 grams of sugar in one serving size, unless it is diet soda. Imagine what all that is doing to your teeth! Andrea Cespedes explains that “The natural bacteria in the mouth become extremely active in the presence of sugar.” This means that when soda goes through the mouth, the high amount of sugar in it will make the bacteria in the mouth grow until plaque forms.
However, the sugar of soda is only a small part of why it is so damaging. The main reason of why it causes tooth decay is its acidity. The acidity of a drink is measured in pH. The scale of pH goes from 1-14, 1 being the most acidic and 14 being the least acidic. Seven on the pH scale is neutral. Michael Sinkin points out that “Tooth enamel begins to dissolve at a pH of 5.3.” This means that any beverage or food with a pH lower than 5.3 will have a good chance at dissolving the tooth’s enamel. Most sodas range from 2-4 on the pH scale, which is almost about the same as vinegar (Lloyd). So when you drink soda (or anything as acidic as it), the carbonic, phosphoric, or citric acid from it dissolves the enamel’s calcium (Cooper). Of course, this doesn’t happen overnight but if you constantly drink soda, the effect of the acid will quickly damage the teeth.
An example of an experiment testing the corrosiveness of soda is leaving a hardboiled egg in a glass or cup of soda. Shannon Schmid demonstrates this by boiling 2-3 white