Citric Acid Destroys Teeth, Not Sugar

All throughout our lives we’re told that sugar causes cavities. Apparently, when we eat sugar, it reacts with our saliva to produce an acid that then corrodes the tooth enamel. I believe this is BS for two reasons. One, my tongue and my mind tell me that sweets are delicious and should be eaten. It doesn’t make sense that the body is sabotaging itself and there is no precedent of such. Sure, consuming copious amounts of sugar would backfire in today’s world due to things like diabetes. Secondly, why is the acid that corrodes our teeth the result of a series of chemical reactions rather than the actual acid we put into our mouths? Apply Occam’s razor here. The most commonly consumed acids are citric, malic, tartaric, and ascorbic acid. I believe these are the real cause of cavities.

Scientists say that acid consumption is safe for three reasons: one, acids can naturally be found in just about all fruits, citrus especially—the old “it’s natural so it can’t be wrong” argument. This is a fallacy because there are many instances of naturally-occurring things that are dangerous, like seeds with cyanide, toxic cashew shells, poisonous berries, black widow spiders, etc. Two, our stomachs produce gastric acid, which is way more corrosive than citric acid, so how can citric acid be harmful? While this is true, that acid exists down in the stomach—not the mouth or esophagus! Gastric acid only leaves the stomach when acid reflux occurs, and it hurts! The third reason is that the amount of citric acid in our food is so miniscule that its effects on tooth enamel are negligible. Okay, but what if these small amounts were consumed at every day for your entire life?

Before you say that I’m wrong and sugar is the cause of cavities because, one time, when you were a kid, you got a cavity a few days after going on a massive candy binge, you should know two things: firstly, new studies are saying that citric acid does soften the tooth enamel. Secondly, sugar has been paired with citric, malic, tartaric, and ascorbic acid for a long time; this combo is in just about every soft drink, jam, and candy in stores today. Manufacturers use citric, malic, tartaric, or ascorbic acid as a preservative and for the sour flavor. I challenge you to find a candy besides chocolate that doesn’t contain citric, malic, tartaric, or ascorbic acid in it. You won’t find it! My guess is that food companies are capitalizing on the modern trend to eat fruits in their natural, raw, unprocessed form, which is likely sour unless perfectly ripened. Thus, they mix citric acid in soft drinks and fruit candies to emulate this “tart”/“tangy” taste and then advertise their products as tasting just like real, fresh, non-processed fruit. Wild berry! I think a sticky bomb is a good analogy for the sugar + citric acid combo: sugar provides adhesion to the teeth while acid dissolves the enamel.


If you look at it long enough you’ll salivate.

I’m disappointed that modern society has convinced people that citric acid is safe. People should avoid putting acids in their mouth, period. It was years ago that I made that conclusion and began a new, enlightened life without sour foods. But it wasn’t long before I found society influencing my thoughts again: I would drool at the sight of sour Warheads and sour gummy worms. That means I really want it… right? Today I know better. Salivation has nothing to do with tastiness. This is just a social construct. In actuality, salivation is a preparatory response to the acid that’s about to penetrate through layers of your tongue, gums, and teeth. Well never again, citric acid!

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