Love your pearly whites? Kiss that soda habit goodbye.
It’s not just Coca-Cola that’s bad for your smile: A video posted to YouTube on Monday reveals the disgusting consequences of soaking human teeth in two different sodas.
The experiment: A young scientist named Chase dropped his sister’s tooth into a bottle of Mountain Dew, and another one into a bottle of Coca-Cola. After waiting about 2 1/2 weeks, he inspected the damage — and boy is it damning.
The results: The tooth dropped in the Mountain Dew turned yellow, and the tooth dropped in the Coca-Cola turned brownish-black. According to Wiley’s calculations, the Mountain Dew tooth was 0.13 grams lighter after soaking in the Dew, while the Coca-Cola tooth was 0.06 grams lighter after soaking in the Coke. This loss reflects 14% of the Dew tooth’s mass and 7% of the Coke tooth’s mass, Wiley concludes. Both teeth look pretty disgusting.
Mountain Dew tooth
Here’s what’s going on: It’s all about titratable acidity, aka the amount of acid, in each soda, Wiley explains in the video. The citric acid in Mountain Dew is organic, so it can break down the calcium in teeth faster than the artificial preservatives in Coke can break down white chompers.
Weirdly enough, the organic option is worse than the conventional option under these circumstances.
“A very acidic beverage can break down the [calcium in] the enamel, leaving it susceptible to cavities,” Jaime Bremnes, a dentist at Whitehall Dental Arts, said in an email, explaining saliva washes over your teeth to replenish the broken-down calcium.
But with a soda like Mountain Dew, your saliva has a harder time diluting the acid, Wiley notes. A soda’s effect on teeth depends on the sugar content and type of acid, citric acid vs. phosphoric acid, Bremnes said. There are 46 grams of sugar in 12 ounces of Mountain Dew, and 39 grams in 12 ounces of Coca-Cola.
What’s up with the yellow color of the Mountain Dew tooth? When a tooth is soaked in a solution, it can absorb pigments from a soda’s coloring agents, Bremnes noted. (We’re looking at you, Yellow #5.)
“Stunts like this video have no value if we’re talking about how people eat and drink in real life,” Rachel Hicks, the director of communications for the American Beverage Association said in an email.
But lest you think you’re cheating the system by drinking diet versions of these drinks, know that one study revealed diet sodas can wreak similar havoc on your dental health. What’s the optimal amount of soda for dental health? Nada, Bremnes said. You’re better off sipping water.