Last fall, the Chicago Dental
Society turned its newspaper journalism contest into a blogging
contest open to any high school student in Cook, Lake or DuPage
County who answered the question, "Is Soda Just Liquid
Full details are available on the contest Web
page. The deadline for entries was February 1, 2010.
This entry is by Ingrid H.
Rrrring rring rring, rrring rrring rring! I pick up my
cell phone, inwardly cringing as I see my mom is calling, "Where
are you, honey?" I tell her that my dad, my brother, and I are at
the Coca-Cola center in Las Vegas. She explodes, firing questions
and reminders: why would we ever go there, did we forget that dad
is diabetic, Coke makes my brother hyper, drinking soda is
prohibited because soda rots our teeth. But these reprimands came
seconds too late; as my mother lectured me, my father was already
strolling towards our table with the International Coca-Cola
Platter, comprising sixteen different variations of the beverage,
all for $7.99.
Carbonated beverages are gradually taking over our society. Vending
machines are conveniently located around every corner of schools.
Soda has replaced milk as the preferred beverage to accompany
meals, particularly fast-food meals such as McDonald's, Subway, and
Pizza Hut. High school teacher Mr. Richardson adds that "Society
understands and accepts that soda is detrimental to one's oral and
physical health, but rarely pauses to ponder the consequences of
regularly consuming soft drinks." In an interview with Victoria Lo,
a junior at the Illinois Math and Science Academy, she revealed
that "Most of my friends buy a Mountain Dew or Coke, promising that
next time they definitely will not drink soda again; other friends
offer the excuse that they regularly exercise and can afford the
extra calories; and then some of my friends simply do not care
about the harmful effects of soft drinks." In any case, it is safe
to assume that a large portion of America's teenagers are addicted
One may characterize soft drinks using two terms: bubbly and sweet.
Accordingly, Waubonsie Valley High School alumni Latisha James
admits, "when I open a can or bottle of soda and hear the hissing
sound of pressure escaping and see bubbles rising to the surface,
it gives me a secret pleasure that nothing else, not even hanging
with my people, compares to." Evidently, society accepts this
addiction is more than an alcohol or drug addiction, but it is
Any health professional would recognize that soda is degenerative
for teeth. Dr. Jennifer Chen, owner of Bright Dental, explains that
"soda contains carbonate and phosphoric acid, which demineralizes
teeth, especially calcium. Tooth enamel is made up of more than 95%
calcium, and when people drink soda, the carbonate and phosphoric
acid reacts with calcium, extracting the calcium from teeth. This
process is called demineralization." Other dental businesses cite
soda as the cause of gum-line problems and root decay.
In areas where soft drinks are cheaper than water, tooth decay is
almost inevitable. However, in the United States, a simple
lifestyle change could save your teeth. Instead of following the
example of Victoria Lo's friends or Latisha James, people should
take to heart the advice of dental practitioners like Dr. Chen.
Because when you truly think about it, instant, albeit sweet and
bubbly, gratification is not worth compensating your oral
health-even if said carbonated beverage is the Coca-Cola factory's
International Platter, comprising sixteen different variations of
Coke all for the low price of $7.99.