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Root Beer Could Be The Best Soft Drink

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Exposing teeth to soft drinks, even for a short period of time, causes dental erosion – and prolonged exposure can lead to significant enamel loss. Root beer products, however, are non-carbonated and do not contain the acids that harm teeth, according to a study in the March/April 2007 issue of General Dentistry, the AGD’s clinical, peer-reviewed journal. That might be something to consider during the next visit to the grocery store.

Exposing teeth to soft drinks, even for a short period of time, causes dental erosion – and prolonged exposure can lead to significant enamel loss. Root beer products, however, are non-carbonated and do not contain the acids that harm teeth, according to a study in the March/April 2007 issue of General Dentistry, the AGD’s clinical, peer-reviewed journal. That might be something to consider during the next visit to the grocery store.

Root Beer Making from Scratch

You want to make root beer by yourself from scratch? Well, here is how to do it. Do not use sassafras that still has safrole because it is a carcinogen (it causes cancer). The first thing you need to do is gather your roots, barks, and herbs. What do you gather? The Hires root beer recipe is a great source, but there are a couple of items that you must have, and a few that you should have.

Must Have:

  • Vanilla (use real vanilla, but not the bean)
  • Wintergreen

Should Have:

  • Ginger
  • Licorice
  • Sarsaparilla

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The actual amounts that you use are up to you, but it is generally an ounce of each ingredient. Wintergreen is the main ingredient used in root beers today, so more Wintergreen and less other ingredients for a post 1960 tasting root beer (2½ oz. Wintergreen ¼ oz. other ingredients). A little later I’ll provide you with a real root beer recipe used in the 1890’s, and it includes exact measurements. When the roots are gathered they should be rinsed in clear water.

All dirt and tops should be removed. Roots that are heavy should be cut or split. When it comes to barks care should be taken that the woody part is removed. The inner skin is the part of the bark that will be used. Herbs & leaves must be gathered when the plant is in seed or flowering stage. When gathering herbs, the plant must be cut where the first leaf begins to branch out. When we state leaves, it is the leaves only that is wanted. After washing, these items should be laid out to dry, and care should be taken so that they are spread out where the air can get around them to prevent molding. Or go buy them at a health food store.

Now just boil the ingredients for about 30 minutes, remove the roots and herbs, and proceed to the fermentation stage described earlier. Vanilla beans contain very tiny seeds, so don’t use the bean unless you’re prepared to filter the liquid first (boiling the bean without slicing it open doesn’t provide enough flavor).

Using Soft Drinks

Consumers often consider soft drinks to be harmless, believing that the only concern is sugar content. Most choose to consume “diet” drinks to alleviate this concern. However, diet drinks contain phosphoric acid and/or citric acid and still cause dental erosion – though considerably less than their sugared counterparts.

“Drinking any type of soft drink poses risk to the health of your teeth,” says AGD spokesperson Kenton Ross, DMD, FAGD. Dr. Ross recommends that patients consume fewer soft drinks by limiting their intake to meals. He also advises patients to drink with a straw, which will reduce soda’s contact with teeth.

Dr. Ross’ patients are shocked to hear that many of the soft drinks they consume are more acidic than battery acid. For example, one type of cola ranked 2.39 on the acid scale, compared to battery acid which is 1.0.

Researchers concluded that non-colas cause a greater amount of erosion than colas. Citric acid is the predominant acid in non-cola drinks and is a major factor in why non-cola drinks are especially erosive. There is a significant difference between sugared and diet colas.

“The bottom line,” Dr. Ross stresses, “is that the acidity in all soft drinks is enough to damage your teeth and should be avoided.”

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