Soda decreases cavities – wait, what?!

Today I went to the dentist.  I hadn’t been there for 12 months.  Anytime I let that amount of time lapse between visits, I pay the ultimate price… the drill followed by the bill!  Today I was pleasantly surprised, however, because they told me (after something like 25 x-rays) that I’m all clear.

A little history.  When I first married Courtney, one of the first things she made me to was go to the dentist.  Someone told her that it had been two years or more since a visit, so it was about time.  The visit revealed 7 cavities!  Not only is that scary, but its a lot of stinkin’ money to shell out!  I haven’t figured out dental insurance.  You pay premiums, but you also pay a majority of the bill when it comes due too.  OK, lets stop right there – we don’t need to go down that path.

Suffice to say, I’ve always been frustrated, because I think I get too many cavities for someone who cares more about their teeth than the average American.

I’m a die-hard flosser.  Courtney actually teases me about how often I floss.  Its only once a day, in the evening before bed, but it is a routine that must happen before I go to sleep.  It took a lot of training to get to that point, but I attribute that to part of the reason for no cavities.

The other reason is soda.  No, I don’t drink soda (and no, I’m not mormon.)  I’m talking about baking soda.  Two or three months ago, Courtney’s aunt told her that part of the reason some people get lots of cavities has to do with the pH of ones saliva.  Acidic saliva.  I pictured that dinosaur in Jurassic Park that could blind its enemy by slinging goo from the back of it’s throat.  She said that lots of people brush with baking soda to counter the acidity.  So, that’s exactly what I did.  I got a box of Arm and Hammer and poured some into a small jelly jar to keep in the medicine cabinet.  I dip my toothbrush in and go to work brushing.

After a few days, I switched to once a day baking soda, using regular toothpaste in the morning.  This was because the thought occurred to me that the baking soda was too abrasive and I’d eventually cause damage to my enamels.  My dentist wasn’t too worried about that, but I’m sticking to my new plan.

A final word on soda.  I did have an extensive conversation with my dentist that I feel compelled to share.  I am not a soda drinker, but I am a homebrewer and enjoy the fruits of my labor often.  I explained that some beers do have a lot of sugars in them (especially mine, because I violate fermentation rules from time to time – the beer always turns out great, though.)  Doc said its not actually the sugar that is so damaging from soda, but the pH.  Neutral pH is 7.  My tapwater, therefore my beer, ranges from 4 to 5.  A quick google search revealed that Coca Cola Classic is 2.52!  Whoa!  The moral of the story is: don’t stop drinking beer because you think it’ll be good for your teeth.

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