Sip Soft Drinks All Day, End Up with Decay

Take heed, people who frequently expose their teeth to soft drinks are at a significantly higher risk of developing decay. In fact, the results of a new study concluded that soda consumption is the most significant factor contributing to the severity of dental erosion, as recently reported in the Journal of Public Health Dentistry.

Tooth enamel and dental erosion

Dental erosion occurs when the tough, protective coating called tooth enamel gets broken down and wears away after continuous exposure to acid. Symptoms of acid erosion include pain and sensitivity, especially when eating hot or cold food items. This results when the underlying dentine is exposed.

The role of saliva in combating harmful mouth acid

Tooth enamel eventually softens, loses essential minerals and weakens when exposed to acidic foods and drinks. Fortunately, this process is controlled by saliva, that neutralizes the acid, and repeatedly restores that natural balance in the oral cavity. However, if insufficient time is allowed for saliva to repair the damage, and the acid attacks occur too frequently, the protective tooth coating will wear away.

Why are soft drinks so bad for tooth enamel?

Any food or drink with a pH level below 5.5 can potentially be harmful to your teeth. All soda varieties, both diet and sugared; sports drinks, carbonated drinks, fruit and natural or artificially flavored fruit juices are all bad for your teeth if consumed too often. While fruit and natural juices offer nutritional benefits they also contain high concentrations of sugar and acid.

Adults with dental erosion

A substantial number of adults who participated in the research displayed some evidence of tooth enamel erosion. The most severe cases were those who drink sugary juices and soft drinks on a regular basis.

Of close to 3,800 participants, it was discovered that almost 80 percent showed evidence of enamel erosion, 64 percent had minimal tooth wear, 10 percent displayed moderate damage and five percent displayed severe tooth erosion.  Everyone with moderate to severe tooth damage drank fruit juices and soft drinks every day, consuming more than any of the other groups.

In the group with the least amount of enamel wear, it was discovered that milk was the preferred drink, over fruit or soda. In addition, male participants appeared to be at a much higher risk for dental erosion than the women and the damage worsened with age.

The best drink options are water and milk, not just to protect your teeth, but for overall health. When it comes to sugary drinks and foods, moderation is the key. Problems occur when people indulge too frequently.