Tuesday, June 25, 2013

"Manly" Drinks & Your Dental Health - Slurpees

Free Slurpee day isn't until next month (July 11th -- 7-11, get it?), but we hope that by posting about it a little early, we might convince you to skip out on the free treat -- and every other Slurpee you might want to down this summer.

The dangers of a Slurpee? "All of the above." Slurpees might not have the same levels of acidity as a Coke (unless, of course, you're drinking a cola flavored Slurpee, which are basically made by using the same syrup that's mixed with carbonated water to make Coke, and mixing it with icy slush instead), but none of them get much above a pH of 4.5 -- easily enough to do some damage to your teeth, especially sipped slowly over a long period of time, which you basically have to do with a Slurpee unless you're mystically immune to brain freeze.

Of course, that slow-drink goodness along with the massive quantities of sugar in a Slurpee makes them even worse than iced tea for developing a good colony of Streptococcus Mutans all along your gum lines. But Slurpees don't stop there.

They may not be contributing alcohol to your oral cavity the way that drinking a beer does, but Slurpees are dropping off a huge quantity of artificial concoctions in your mouth, many of which have a variety of unknown side-effects. The flavors are artificial, the colors are artificial, the sodium benzoate they use as a preservative is a known carcinogen when mixed with citric acid (which basically all of the fruit-based flavors have in abundance), and even the bark extract they use to give the drinks a particular 'mouth feel' can leech calcium out of your body and cause kidney stones.

None of that might be directly related to your oral health, but in this case, we think it's wise to take advice from a cartoon character. As Candace of Phineas and Ferb fame once said, "Crushed ice covered in blue carbs? Lame!"

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