Should there be a traffic light system to assess the acidity of fizzy drinks, as well as harmful sugars?

We already have traffic light systems for nutritional content of our foods. Fizzy drinks already have a similar system, assessing their sugar levels. A dentist from Burton-upon-Trent, according to the Cosmetic Dentistry website, has called for a similar system that assesses acidity levels.


Dr. Sandra Ferreira from Measham Dental in Swadlincote, stated that fewer people are aware of the pH level of fizzy drinks. Whereas sugar content is well documented and recognised, the pH levels of carbonated drinks is less well known. She has sent a petition to Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt MP.

Why a traffic light system?

Acidity erodes the enamel of your teeth. Enamel is the protective coating of your teeth which prevents it from cavities. Dr Ferreira’s campaign is based on many of her patients being unaware of the damage some drinks may cause. She stated that the problem isn’t only exclusive to non-diet fizzy drinks. Even diet versions of soft drinks and natural juices. On the pH scale, dentin dissolves below 6.50, on the slightly acidic side of neutral. Enamel dissolves below 5.50, a weak acid.

Unsurprisingly, cola drinks and energy drinks are the most acidic soft drinks on the market. A regular can of Coke has a pH scale reading of 2.5, which is pretty close to vinegar. Diet Coke is 3.28 - again acidic. Both of which are close to the pH scale reading for plaque acids (which is 4.0).

Where next?

If Dr Ferreira’s petition reaches the threshold of 100,000 signatures, that should be enough to trigger a House of Commons debate. If the petition goes further, we hope this could raise awareness of acid erosion.

For the time being, and perhaps for much longer, we should lay off the Coke and go for a nice glass of cool Yorkshire water.

Smile Specialist Centre, 06 December 2016.

Image by DenisMArt (via Shutterstock).

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