Most people know sugary drinks are bad for your teeth (and health), but what about healthier alternatives? A recent TikTok trend highlights “healthier” soda, and many people are interested. But the ADA cautions that this version is far from healthy, at least for your oral health.
What Is the TikTok Soda?
For reference, the TikTok soda adds balsamic vinegar to flavored sparkling water. This essentially adds acid to an already acidic beverage.
For years, dentists like Dr. Sharma have known that consuming acidic foods and beverages can wear down the enamel protecting your teeth. This leads to tooth erosion, which is permanent. Tooth erosion can lead to discoloration and make it easier for bacteria to enter your teeth. That, in turn, can lead to infection or bacteria.
Research Shows Even Sugar-free Soda Is Bad for Your Teeth
The ADA pointed to a recent study published in the JADA Foundational Science journal when talking about the TikTok soda.
The study in question looked at plain sparkling water, flavored sparkling water, and non-carbonated bottled water. Researchers wanted to see which liquids would cause tooth erosion. They chose seven sugar-free beverages and a single sugary one as a control. They placed recently-extracted human teeth in the liquid for 24 hours. This 24-hour constant soaking was chosen to replicate about a year’s worth of teeth’s exposure to soda.
The results clearly showed that there wasn’t a significant difference between sugar-free and sugar sodas. The acid itself was an issue, not the sweetener. While the flavored sparkling water caused less erosion than the soda, it still had some. Only non-carbonated, non-flavored bottled water didn’t cause erosion.
What About the TikTok Soda Recipe?
The TikTok soda wasn’t one of the sodas included in the study. But dental experts say its recipe is similar enough to those included in the study to assume that it would have similar effects on your teeth. Remember that the study found that flavored sparkling water causes tooth erosion, which is a key part of the TikTok soda recipe.
Recommendations to Enjoy Your Soda
Just because soda is bad for your teeth doesn’t mean that Dr. Sharma expects everyone to give it up. Do what you can to reduce your soda consumption. And when you do drink it, follow the tips offered by the ADA, including:
- Use a straw
- Don’t swish or hold it in your mouth too long
- Rinse with water or enjoy milk or cheese after
- Wait an hour to brush (this lets your saliva naturally wash away acids, re-hardening enamel)
- Consider chewing sugarless gum after to encourage saliva flow
- Follow other good dental hygiene practices, such as brushing and flossing
If you have been on TikTok recently, you may have noticed a recipe for “healthier” soda. But dentists at the ADA warn that this recipe is highly acidic and likely to cause tooth erosion. Do your best to only enjoy soda in moderation and take precautions to minimize its impact on your teeth.