New Research Warns of the Dangers of High Acidity Drinks

Published:August 6th, 2014
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Recent research carried out in Australia has found popular drinks, including fruit juices, soft drinks and sports drinks can be a triple threat to teeth. The study centred on the way these drinks can affect children and young adult’s teeth, as perhaps their consumption is likely to be higher, but anyone consuming a lot of these liquids will be at risk.

The Damage is Done Within Thirty Seconds of Drinking
It was the first time that scientists were able to show the lifelong damage that can be caused to teeth, just thirty seconds after the acid begins to attack the teeth. When acid attacks the teeth it causes dental erosion, a factor that may only be detected by your dentist once the damage is already done. Quite a lot of people also suffer from teeth grinding and clenching, a habit that generally occurs during sleep, and this can cause teeth to fracture, chip or crack, removing even more of the protective layer of dental enamel. Another factor that can increase the likelihood of acid erosion is acid reflux where strong stomach acids, into the mouth and will weaken tooth enamel. All these habits can affect anyone at any age.

Researchers are recommending parents limit their children’s intake of these types of sugary and acidic drinks, especially as the damage occurs so quickly after consumption. This means it’s no good thinking it’s okay to clean teeth half an hour or so later when acidity levels in the mouth have normalised, reducing any side effects. Instead these types of drinks are best avoided. Scientists recommend that children and young adults eat the whole fruits rather than the juice as even though fresh fruit does contain acid and sugars, it is a healthier option than fruit juice which can have additional acids.

Acid Erosion and Juicing
This might also be an issue if you’re a fan of juicing, as this has become an increasingly popular way to lose weight healthily. If you do like to juice then it’s a good idea to include more vegetables than fruits in your juice, and it might help to drink them through a straw or to rinse your mouth with plain water straightaway afterwards as this will help wash away any remaining juice so the effects are at least slightly lessened, but unless you can do this within the first thirty seconds of sipping, then your teeth might be more at risk of acid erosion.

Acid Erosion and Tooth Colour
Acid erosion also affects the colour of your teeth, making them gradually darken. This is because it thins the protective layer of enamel which is an opaque whitish colour. As the enamel becomes thinner it allows more of your natural tooth colour to show through which is in the dentine layer just underneath the enamel. Dentine tends to be a darker colour, and this is one reason why teeth gradually darken with age as the enamel wears away.

So what can you do to prevent these effects? Although home teeth whitening kits will help lift the overall shade of your teeth, it’s also best to try to repair some of the damage done to your teeth. Remineralising toothpastes designed to treat acid erosion can be quite helpful, and it’s also worth asking your dentist about fluoride treatments to help harden your tooth enamel.

About the author

Alison, is a UK born and educated dental professional with over 25 years experience.

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