TikTok users are making a “healthy” version of Coca-Cola at home with balsamic vinegar and seltzer.
In reality, the concoction may be more damaging to teeth compared to regular soda.
Vinegar and bubbly drinks are both acidic and destructive to the tooth’s protective coating.
The “healthy” soda alternative that’s trending on TikTok may actually have some adverse effects on oral wellness, according to dentists who have researched soft drinks and tooth erosion.
The video that inspired TikTok users to mix balsamic vinegar and seltzer into a Cola-like concoction has received more than 6.4 million views and countless duets. One of Insider’s reporters wrote that she enjoyed the beverage despite its tangy aftertaste.
Dentists, however, have not given the DIY drink their stamp of approval. In fact, the American Dental Association released a statement about the risks of over-indulging in acidic beverages in response to the trend.
“I love balsamic vinegar, but I enjoy it more on my salad than in my drinking glass. It’s much kinder to the teeth than bathing them in a beverage blend of two acids,” Edmond Hewlett, DDS, said in the statement. “The more acidic the drink, the greater the risk of tooth erosion with frequent consumption.”
It is acid, not sugar, that breaks down the teeth’s protective enamel coating. A study of sugar-free beverages and tooth erosion, published in the ADA’s open-access journal in May, confirmed that even sugarless sparkling water caused some erosion, although not as much as traditional sodas.
The acidic drink poses a double-threat to tooth enamel
Compared to a sugar-filled Coca-Cola, a glass of soda water with a splash of vinegar may seem like a healthier choice.
However, the combination of an already acidic carbonated beverage and sticky, sour vinegar is bad news for dental health.
“The stickiness of the balsamic vinegar will adhere to your teeth long after you’ve finished your meal, and the acidity has a dual effect of wearing away at your tooth enamel and staining your teeth,” Marc Sclafani, DDS and co-founder of One Manhattan Dental, told Insider.
Balsamic vinegar is slightly less acidic than other vinegars, he continued, but it still has the potential to erode enamel, especially when combined with another acidic ingredient. As the enamel breaks down to reveal a hard, yellow tissue called dentin, the teeth may appear discolored.
Tooth erosion can lead to long-term sensitivity, as well as a greater risk of decay and infection, according to the ADA.
Other health risks associated with acidic and fizzy beverages include heartburn and reflux, Health.com reported.
“Honestly, I would rather just have people drink a regular can of Coke,” Sclafani said.
To reduce your risk of tooth erosion, the ADA recommends using a straw to sip acidic beverages and rinsing with water directly afterwards. Do not brush your teeth immediately after drinking something acidic — it’s best to wait an hour and give your saliva a chance to wash it away.
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