submitted by Dr. Nicholas Meyer, DDS
The Big Gulp®; Super Size Me™; You’ve heard them before and will no doubt hear them ad nauseum into the future. The sweet drink that so refreshes on a hot day can carry more than you may have realized or bargained for. While in dental school, I had a biochemistry professor who exhorted us on the troubles with the carbonation of a soft drink. The term carbonation refers to the fact that there is carbon dioxide gas infused into the drink. When you open the container, be it a can or bottle, there is a fizzy action and thousands of little bubbles suddenly come to life.
Those little bubbles are the carbon dioxide gas escaping due to a change in the pressures from within the liquid to the atmosphere. When we ingest or swallow and carry the gas into our body that wonderful feeling translates into carbonic acid. This change occurs very rapidly and the body has to deal with the new sudden change of pH.
The pH change challenges the body, it freaks out and says, ACID, DILUTE-DILUTE IMMEDIATELY! And it does so masterfully. The acid get diluted and calcium comes to the rescue to “buffer” the acid making it weaker (increasing the pH towards normal or 7). So where does the calcium come from? Well, your Calcium store house of course. That being primarily your bones.
Imagine a soft drink habit where you have one of these drinks a day and you have a calcium poor diet, you will begin to run into enough loss of the calcium to cause your bones to become noticeably weaker. This is called Osteoporosis. One of the more readily available sources of the calcium is from the bones around your teeth. This is the alveolar process. Here, there is a very ready exchange of calcium out of the bone, as needed, as well as into the bone, when able to replenish it.
I will talk about the sugar aspect in another article.
Dr. Nicholas Meyer, DDS
Millennium Dental Associates
5705 N. Scottsdale Rd.
Bldg D – Suite 110
Scottsdale, AZ 85250