Cold Cans of SodaSoft drinks are bad for your teeth in more ways than one. There’s sugar, and then there’s acidity.

The sugar provides necessary food for the bad bacteria in your mouth. If you’re drinking the national average of two cans of soft drinks a day, you’re giving aid and sustenance to the enemy. Bacteria eat what you eat, and sugar sends them into overdrive.

But sugar isn’t the worst culprit. Fizz is.

The bubble in carbonated beverages comes from carbonic acid. That acid eats through dental enamel, eroding your teeth.

And that acid is just as harmful in diet sodas as in regular. Sugary but non-bubbly Kool-Aid is far better for your teeth than, say, Diet Coke. The exception is root beer, which has far fewer of the tooth-harming acids than other soft drink flavors.

Don’t let the name sport drinks fool you into thinking these drinks promote health. Ironically, because of their acid-buffering ability, they are worse for your teeth than other popular beverages.

Bottom line: Drink Responsibly. Limit consumption of soft drinks. When possible, use a straw positioned to direct liquid away from teeth. Rinse mouth with water after enjoying a soda—or, better yet, drink water.