There's no question that soda isn't the healthiest beverage choice out there. However, like with many things, if you drink it in moderation, you shouldn't have too many problems. Unfortunately, soda is very acidic – in addition to being bad for your digestive system – and that can do a real number on your teeth, even in small doses. Therefore, it's important to be mindful of the various acidic levels in different sodas to get a better understanding of which sodas if any might be a better choice than others.
Soda and the Acidity Scale
Soda is not the only type of drink that has acid in it. Many drinks, from juices to sport drinks to teas and coffees, also have acid to some degree. Acidity is measured on a pH scale (or acidity scale) of zero to 14. 7 is in the middle, and anything that has a pH level of 7 is considered neutral.
If it is higher than 7, it is "basic," and lower than 7 is "acidic." Water, for instance, has a pH of 7. The closer the pH level is to zero, the more acidic it is, and each time you drop down a number, it is 10 times more acidic than the level before it.
The Problem With Acid in Drinks
The more acidic something is, the more harmful it can be to the enamel on your teeth. Enamel is a protective coating on your teeth that prevents them from decaying. Enamel also gives teeth their unique color, with some people having more yellow teeth and some having more white teeth.
Drinking soda can contribute not only to this change in color but also to the overall strength of the enamel. Since enamel starts to dissolve at 5.50, anything at that level or closer to zero will certainly do damage, also breaking through to the dentin, which is the next protective layer lying directly beneath the enamel. All the cosmetic dentistry in the world cannot bring back enamel. Once you lose it, your body cannot make any more.
Coca-Cola pH Level
The pH of Coke is 2.52. For reference, this is close to the acidity level in phosphoric and sulfamic acid, which are at a pH level of 2. This is also the same pH as lemons. Therefore, drinking a lot of Coca-Cola will start to take a toll on your teeth.
Pepsi pH Level
There's definitely a lot of debate regarding what's better: Coke or Pepsi. While the taste may be different, the pH levels are extremely close. Pepsi has a pH level of 2.53, which means that it is only a tiny bit less acidic than Coca-Cola.
7UP pH Level
Another popular drink is 7UP. 7UP, despite its green packaging that gives it a more volatile appearance, is actually less acidic than Coke and Pepsi with a pH level of 3.20. However, this is still highly acidic when it comes to your teeth.
Mountain Dew pH Level
Unlike 7UP, which isn't actually green, many would argue that Mountain Dew has a radioactive green color. Despite this, it's on par with 7UP as far as its pH level, which is 3.22. Therefore, it's still less acidic than Coke and Pepsi too.
Sprite pH Level
Sprite is similar to 7UP, but it might be somewhat of a healthier choice of soda compared to others. This is because the Sprite pH level is 3.29.
Dr. Pepper pH Level
Dr. Pepper is up there with Coke and Pepsi in terms of its acidity level. Despite being loved by many, you should think twice before opting for a Dr. Pepper, as the pH level is 2.89. However, this is still less acidic than the similar-tasting cherry Coke, which has the same pH as Coke at 2.52.
Root Beer pH Level
If you want to choose the safest soda, then root beer is your best bet. Root beer has the lowest acidity levels of any other soda, averaging between 4 and 5. A&W root beer has a pH level of 4.75, and Barq's is at 4.47. Root beer is said to be less acidic because it doesn't contain phosphoric or citrus acids and is often not carbonated. This makes it less acidic than some juices. For example, the pH of orange juice is around 3 depending on the brand.