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Is diet coke bad for your teeth? Find out the affects of sugary drinks and if your teeth rot

Mirror logo Mirror 26/04/2017 Zahra Mulroy

© Provided by Trinity Mirror Shared Services Limited It's an old wives' tale beloved by parents wanting to teach their kids the perils of sugar:

When a tooth is dropped into a glass of Coke and left overnight, it gets completely eroded away.

This particular myth was the work of Cornell University professor Clive McCay who, in 1950, wanted to alert the American public to the negative side-effects of Coca-Cola.

As it turned out, it takes longer than overnight for a tooth to succumb to the effects of fizzy pop. But that's not to say regularly drinking Coke leads to dental nirvana, either.

Sugary drinks, which cause our teeth to produce harmful acids, remain notoriously bad for them.

If you've ever wondered about the extent of the damage, then dentist Dr Tom Bierman, 34, can illustrate this perfectly.

© Provided by Trinity Mirror Shared Services Limited Dr Bierman conducted an experiment with his own teeth.

In his twenties he had his wisdom teeth removed, and his parents brought them home, figure1 reports.

Dr Bierman put the first tooth in a bottle of a popular energy drink.

The second tooth went into a bottle of regular Coke.

The third went in a bottle of Diet Coke, and the final tooth was placed in water as a control group.

What he found after two weeks.

Once a fortnight had passed, Dr Bierman took a look at the teeth.

© Provided by Trinity Mirror Shared Services Limited The regular Coca-Cola tooth was nearly stained black.

The third tooth, placed in Diet Coke "didn't do much but was definitely stained."

Dr Bierman had been inspired by a book he read, which claimed one in seven new energy drinks are too corrosive to have in aluminium cans.

© Provided by Trinity Mirror Shared Services Limited It was the energy drink tooth which proved to be the most shocking.

Chunks of enamel had come off it, causing it to take on a pink and rust coloured appearance.

"The rust colour seems to be where the tooth was more yellow to begin with," he says. "And then there are those alarming lumps of enamel that have come off the tooth."

Acidic drinks are often the culprit behind enamel - the strongest substance in the human body - being worn away.

This exposes the dentine, which in turn can cause pain and sensitivity as well increasing the chances of decay.

"The enamel on this tooth was crumbling away -it had been a lot more destructive to the enamel than the cola tooth," Dr Bierman adds.

"Even more concerning is that this was the sugar-free version of the energy drink: it's very potent stuff." 


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