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I asked some of my friends and we all agree that teeth feel funny after drinking Coca-Cola. Other similar soft drinks also cause this effect, but this one most noticeably. It's like teeth become sticky and moving them against each other (by moving jaw) creates rubbery feeling.

What ingredient in this soft drink makes teeth like that?

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  • $\begingroup$ I'm not sure where this question belongs, but as I'm interested in whatever ingredient causes this effect, I posted here. Not sure about tags, too. $\endgroup$ – user1306322 Apr 8 '14 at 18:49
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    $\begingroup$ Or chemistry - I'm not sure whether I'm unterstanding questioner right: Coke makes teeth soft - due it's phosphoric acid. After consuming Coke teeth may feel ... rough? sticky? (Note: Never ever brush your teeth right after drinking soft drinks/acidic fruit juice! You will brush your teeth away.) $\endgroup$ – ChiChiChan Apr 9 '14 at 0:49
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    $\begingroup$ sugar? :-) [saying that because I don't feel this way with coke zero, but I do with regular coke] $\endgroup$ – Leo Apr 9 '14 at 2:24
  • $\begingroup$ we don't have zero in our region, so I can't compare $\endgroup$ – user1306322 Apr 9 '14 at 9:57
  • $\begingroup$ I see the question as wildly off topic. We are not a site for everything about food; we only focus on how to cook food, and all effects of the food on the body are off topic. The last rule mostly saves us from healthiness crackpots, but even if your question is not so likely to attract them, we still don't have the expertise to answer it. $\endgroup$ – rumtscho Apr 9 '14 at 10:26
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Glucose and other ingested sugars have a natural affinity to bind to surface proteins on teeth (as well as many other proteins in tissues). This process is called glycosylation, and is expedited both by acidic environments (such as provided by the acidic soft drinks as indicated by The Last Word) or metabolism of adherent bacteria on the tooth surface (see one example). A discussion of oral cavity lubrication and how this influences tooth surfance glycosylation and biofilm formation has also been reported. The fuzzy feeling is a result of plaque formation. Plaques form as a byproduct of metabolism of bacteria on the tooth surfaces, that ingest and break down dietary sugars, and also secrete acids as a byproduct of this metabolism. The result, if left long enough, is plaque formation and eventually tooth decay. You can also notice this fuzzy feeling after a day or so of not brushing your teeth, as the bacteria have had a long time to metabolize the sugars ingested over that period to produce a plaque.

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The sticky feeling comes from the sugars present in soft drinks. The sugar sticking to the surface of the teeth is then broken down into acids by bacteria and this affects the teeth. A list of the amount of sugars in different soft drinks can be found here. Also reading the dental decay section of Wikipedia gives the info that many carbohydrates are present including glucose, fructose and sucrose. On a dentistry forum (reference), it says that even artificial sugars can stick to teeth and get metabolized except xylitol.

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