Soft Drinks: Bad?

I was reading a rather surprising article related to soft drinks and root beer. In it, the article claims that root beer (the real kind, not artificial!) “are non-carbonated and do not contain the acids that harm teeth.” Out of curiosity, I decided to take a look at a list of pH values for various types of drinks that I enjoy:

Drink pH Value
Sprite 3.42
Flordia Orange Juice 3.30-4.15
Tea (brewed) 7.2
Brewed/Instant Coffee 5.51
Water 7.0
Milk 6.4-6.8

Data source.

What’s interesting is that the article from Science Daily states that “Researchers concluded that non-colas cause a greater amount of erosion than colas” because of the citric acid they contain. They don’t vilify orange juice, and it has a pH very similar to Sprite. (They are correct that most colas are pretty close to battery acid!)

In a somewhat ironic twist of fate, they do point out that sports drinks could be worse for your teeth than soda. Oh, what a cruel world!

So there’s your curio for the day. If you’re going to pick a soda to drink, choose Sprite!

Update: I know I’ve linked to this before, but I think it’s important to point out again. Stephan of has a couple of articles on preventing and potentially reversing tooth decay. The latter article was posted on April 1st and was not intended as an April Fool’s joke (that’s addressed in the comments).


3 Responses to “Soft Drinks: Bad?”

  • The reason that most colas are some-what acidic is because of the phosphoric acid they have in them.

    However, I wouldn’t fret too much. Most of the food products we consume are acidic, and most cleaning products are basic. And water is anaphoric, meaning it can act as either an acid or a base. And battery acid is sulfuric acid, which has a pH of about 0. So soft drinks aren’t too close to that pH. And it also kind of depends on the molarity(M) of the solution (cola). I mean… if its only 1M phosphoric acid, you aren ‘t going to get nearly as much too erosion as you would if you were to have say, a 6M phosphoric acid solution.

    Anyways… I’ll stop babbling. My point is, it doesn’t necessarily depend on the concentration of hydronium ions. There are much more factors to consider.

    And if you’re interested, here are some formulas to help you calculate pH and pOH blah blah blah:

    1.0×10^14 = [H3O+][OH-]
    [H3O+] = 10^-pH
    pH = -log([H3O+])
    pOH = -log([OH-])

    And as a final note, I <3 Coke.

  • Benjamin writes:

    I just find it funny because of how Science Daily has really been stooping to insane sensationalization for their articles. Thanks for the information, though!

    There’s also a really weird comment attached to this post, and I’m trying to determine if it’s random spam or not. It isn’t advertising anything… I might just added it and see. :)

    Edit: There we go, first comment. It makes no sense!

  • I haven’t really read much Science Daily, tbqh…

    But yes… “Scecece” can I get an introduction? I think we just might be able to be best friends!

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