According to a new study the findings of which were published in the Journal of Public Health Dentistry, soft drinks contribute the most to severe dental erosion.
What is dental erosion?
Dental erosion occurs when the protective, hard layer over the tooth – the enamel – is eaten away by acid. This leads to pain, specially when eating hot or cold food, because the tooth’s dentine area which is extremely sensitive has been uncovered. Acidic foods turn the teeth enamel softer as the mineral content thereof is lost.
The body’s restorative process
Our body fortunately has been endowed with the ability to restore its normal conditions: the saliva found in the mouth cancels out the acidity, and a balance is thus maintained. However, for his restorative process to occur, the mouth has to be given the adequate amount of time to repair itself. Therefore, when the attacks by way of acidic foods happen too often without giving the mouth time to cleanse itself, the teeth have to bear the brunt of the acid.
Foods with pH values lower than 5.5 include diet and regular sodas, carbonated drinks, flavoured fizzy waters, sports drinks, and even fruit juices. If these are consumed too often, the negative effects are felt more and more.
Dental erosion among adults correlated with soft drinks
The findings showed that a considerable proportion of adults had dental erosion. Furthermore, those with the most severe forms of the erosion were people who reported consuming sugary soft drinks and fruit juices.
79% of the 3773 participants showed dental erosion. 64% had mild tooth wear, 10% had moderate tooth wear and 5% displayed signs of severe tooth wear.
Those with moderate and severe tooth erosion had more soft drinks and fruit juices per day than the others.
The participants who had the lower levels of tooth wear were those who drank milk more than soda and juices.
Furthermore, males were two times more likely to have dental erosion than women. With age, this became even more severe.
“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. Nigel Carter, chief executive of the British Dental Health Foundation.
“Remember, it is how often we have sugary foods and drinks that causes the problem so it is important that we try and reduce the frequency of consumption.”
“Dental erosion does not always need to be treated. With regular check-ups and advice your dental team can prevent the problem getting any worse and the erosion going any further. The more severe cases of tooth wear can often result in invasive and costly treatment so it is important that we keep to a good oral hygiene routine to make sure these future problems do not arise.”