When it comes to tooth decay, nothing gets blamed more than candy for causing it. But according to a recent Medical News Today article, the most significant factor in severity of dental erosion is soft drinks. This erosion occurs when the tooth becomes softer and loses mineral content after consuming acidic foods and beverages. Typically, this process is negated when saliva restores the natural balance in the mouth. But if the process is not given enough time before additional acids are added to the oral cavity, the erosion persists, leaving the sensitive dentine of the tooth exposed, and ultimately causing pain. “Anything with a pH value (the measure of acidity) lower than 5.5 can damage the teeth.” This includes diet and regular sodas, carbonated drinks, fizzy waters, sports drinks, and fruit juices, which when consumed too often are known to be harmful to teeth.
The study, which was published in the Journal of Public Health Dentistry, found that a ‘substantial proportion’ of adults have tooth erosion, and the most extreme cases are experienced by individuals who regularly consume sugary soft drinks and fruit juices. Researchers examined 3,773 subjects, 79% of which had evidence of dental erosion. 64% had mild tooth wear, 10% had moderate tooth wear and 5% displayed signs of severe tooth wear. Those who consumed more soft drinks and fruit juices each day were the ones who displayed moderate and severe tooth wear. The participants with lower levels of tooth wear reportedly consumed more milk than sugary drinks. Additionally, men were found to be at least twice more likely for dental erosion than woman, and the wear on teeth became more significant with age.
Dr. Nigel Carter OBE, chief executive of the British Dental Health Foundation, stated that fruit juice can be a nutritious supplement in your diet, the high concentrations of sugar and acid make it hazardous to your oral and overall health, and should only be consumed in moderation. “Water and milk are the best choices by far, not only for the good of our oral health but our overall health too,” says Dr. Carter. He further claimed that dental erosion does not always need to be treated, provided you receive regular check-ups and advice from your dentist. Of course, a good oral hygiene routine is always recommended, and should include brushing for two minutes, twice a day and regular flossing.