Does Coca Cola rot your teeth?

Does Coca Cola Rot Your teeth?

In answering the above question, most people would be inclined to say “Yes!” straight away. That sugary filled substance, with all its additives, must surely have an experimentally provable detrimental effect on your teeth? The answer to that would be both yes and no. To address the negative first, no tests have proven conclusively that Coca Cola is directly to blame for tooth rot.

Whilst this remains true, it is clear that a sugary liquid sitting on ones teeth is hardly going to be beneficial, and that unless cleaned away, this liquid can accelerate the demise of the teeth. Coca Cola is such a liquid, so this conforms to the yes part. Drinking fizzy pop a few decades ago was acceptable, as in most cases very moderate quantities were being consumed.

Since the launching of the product globally, the Coca Cola managed to become one of the most recognisable symbols in the world. People now drink much more sugar and sweetened filled fizzy drinks than ever before, and Coca Cola are at the front line of selling. People sometimes forget that such drinks can contribute to being overweight, as they can contribute too many calories if drunk in excess.

Background of Coca Cola

Credit is given on Coca Cola’s own website to Atlanta pharmacist John Pemberton for the creation of the first Coca Cola drink as we know it today, and to Pemberton’s bookkeeper, Frank Robinson, for the invention of the name Coca Cola, and also for the flowing, distinctive script used to identify the product, which is the same one which is claimed to be in use today. This was in 1886, and as can fairly be expected of any businesses which have such a long history, different laws and traditions were used to what we use in this day and age. Hence, the addition of coca leaves to the drink was not a major issue. Pemberton himself called for five ounces of coca leaves per gallon of syrup; quite a significant amount. In 1903 these leaves were removed, and in 1904 were replaced by using ‘spent’ coca leaves instead of fresh ones, which still involved using trace amounts. Nowadays, Coca Cola is manufactured with a cocaine free coca leave at a New Jersey plant. The nickname ‘Coke’ was introduced in 1941, with a series of adverts informing the viewer that Coca Cola was now also Coke.

Cultural Effect of the Brand

The company and brand of Coca Cola is not only instantly recognisable by virtually the whole world, there are only two countries where it is not possible to purchase it. They are Cuba and North Korea. Even here, it seems possible to acquire it in other ways. Their influence on global perception was further enhanced when they invented the idea of Santa Clause in a red and white suit. The popular image of a jovial, red and white suited friendly man called Santa was in fact part of an advertising drive to sell their product, but has since merged into man’s subconscious as the image we accept at Christmas time.

Coca Cola’s impact on culture in America has been substantial as well. A popular song was released in 1971, borne of a coca cola television advertisement, ‘I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing’, and became a kind of anthem for globalism. The type of advertisements from the company are pervasive, indeed a goal of Ernest Woodruff’s – who took over the company – was to ensure that everybody on earth drank Coca Cola as their preferred beverage.

The Blind Taste Tests

Initiated during the 1980’s, and by rival soft drink brand Pepsi-Cola, The famous Pepsi Challenge ignited interest in the two brands, as they squared off to each other in a blind consumer taste test. Television commercials showed two blindfolded ‘testers’ tasting brand A and brand B, before choosing their favourite and dramatically revealing the brand to be Pepsi. As statisticians have since pointed out the problematic nature of a 50/50 test, and the fact that in a blind taste test most people could not tell the difference between the two brands, the adverts, stripped of any real meaning, can only be enjoyed on a nostalgic level. Immensely popular at the time though, Coca Cola responded by running adverts in response to Pepsi’s, one being two chimps deciding which one out of two tennis balls was fuzzier.

Other Foods and Drinks That Rot Teeth

Rather than identifying brands that contribute to tooth decay, it is more prudent to look at the raw ingredients that cause the damage, and avoid products that use unnecessary amounts of these substances. According to, the top five products that contain sugar (which causes the tooth decay) are:

  • Sweets and chocolate
  • Cakes and biscuits
  • Pastries and fruit pies
  • Puddings
  • Sugary breakfast cereals

The general advice given out is to avoid eating items such as the above, unless on occasion. Preventing tooth decay is achievable by reducing the amount of sugar in your diet, and reducing or adjusting the amount of items containing sugar you eat per day, with no more than four in any day. Limit sugary items to mealtimes. These practices can be followed up by brushing twice a day, for two minutes per time, to maintain good oral health.

It is achievable to drink and consume most items we desire, simply by moderation, and good health routines. Deciding to not consume an item that you know is loaded with sugar, and on the odd occasion allowing yourself to do so, is good practice and basic common sense. Singling out product brands over other brands is never dealing with the causes, indeed some argue that the only thing gained by doing this is publicity for the brand itself. It is down to the consumer to think and act in a sensible manner, thereby allowing a fine balance to prevail.