A cavity starts when the enamel of a tooth becomes demineralized. Demineralization can be caused by eating or drinking a lot of acidic foods and beverages. Therefore the more acidic the food or beverage, the more harm it can have on enamel. The demineralization of enamel has been shown to start at a pH of 5.5. Water has a neutral pH of 7.0 and milk’s pH is 6.8. Many sports/energy drinks, pop, and juices or teas have considerably more acidic pH levels.
If you are concerned about preventing cavities it is good to familiarize yourself with the pH levels of common drinks.
*Battery Acid: 1.00
*Stomach Acid: 2.00(this is why persistent acid reflux can cause tooth erosion)
*Capri Sun: 2.6
*Mt Dew: 3.22
*Diet Coke: 3.39
There has also been an increase in consumption of Crystal Light or Packets of flavoring that you can add to your water. While this is slightly better than drinking pop, there is still Citric Acid added to these products which gives these drink additives an acidic pH. I like to call these drink additives ‘Pop in a Packet’.
What is important to remember is the length of time these acidic beverages have contact with your teeth. It is much better to quickly drink a bottle of Gatorade after a tough workout than it is to sip on it over a long period of time(for instance the duration of a game). Or to occasionally have a pop or a Capri Sun is better than to drink one or more every day or multiple times a week.
The moral of the story is: Water or Milk are the best and most other beverages should be consumed in moderation and over a short amount of time!