Acidic Sugar-Free Drinks Cause Measurable Damage to Teeth

Sugar-free drinks with acidic components are nearly as damaging to teeth as sugary beverages are, say researchers from the University of Melbourne.

teeth 2

Diet sodas and similar beverages that boast about being sugar-free do not come without their own adverse effects on the teeth. When the researchers conducted their experiments on 23 types of drinks – soft drinks, sports drinks, and flavoured mineral water, amongst others – they found that enamel damage caused by acidic chemicals contained in non-sugary drinks was considerable: the findings show that dental enamel can be softened by 30 to 50 %.

One of the authors, Professor Eric Reynolds explains that the combinations of acidic compounds in some drinks might be as damaging as sugar. The acid dissolves the teeth’s hard tissues, thereby causing dental erosion. If this process continues to further stages, the soft tissues (the pulp; shown in the diagram below) found inside the tooth might be exposed to more damage.

tooth-diagram

It was concluded that no significant difference in terms of measurable loss of the teeth’s surface was found between sugary drinks and the sugar-free ones.

The authors also say that citric acid accounts for tooth erosion to a great extent. Phosphoric acid that is usually used as an additive is also harmful to teeth.

Dr Reynolds, therefore, leaves words of caution for consumers pertaining to the potential harm of sugar-free foods and drinks.

Find their briefing paper below.

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