Sugar free drinks have led us to believe that they are good for our health and our teeth, but has it been false advertisement all along? New research shows that sugar free drinks and sweets can be harmful to the teeth causing tooth decay and bigger problems.
The study which took place at the University of Melbourne states that sugar free drinks containing acidic additives with low PH levels will cause damage to the tooth’s enamel. Tooth Enamel is the outer surface of the teeth, it is the hardest tissue in the human body and is designed to protect your teeth against every day activities such as chewing and biting. Also used to insulate the teeth so that hot and cold temperatures do not cause you pain.
The research carried out showed evidence of sports drinks and soft drinks softening tooth enamel by 30-50%. These included drinks that were with sugar and without sugar including flavoured water. There was even evidence of drinks being labelled tooth friendly causing damage to the enamel due to their high acidity levels. Acid in the mouth is capable of dissolving the hard tissues on the teeth causing layers to be stripped away. As a result they can become sensitive and eventually cause holes where the soft pulp of the teeth are exposed. This can cause a person extreme amounts of pain as the pulp is filled with nerve endings that are extremely sensitive to touch. Early on erosion can generally be treated quite easily by a dentist by replacing lost minerals. Damage however that is most significant may require dental crowns, fillings or even tooth extraction.
The new findings may come as a shock to many of you which is why it is advised that anybody buying such drinks reads the labels correctly. Look out for acidity in drinks, in particular citric acid as this can be very erosive. Better consumer information is needed in order to alert consumers of the possible effects such drinks can have on the teeth.
We currently live in a society that has extremely high levels of tooth decay with the majority of these being children. It is estimated that a third of children start school with decaying teeth and if the problem isn’t caught early on the issue is likely to pass into adulthood. As it stands tooth decay is the biggest cause of children being admitted to hospital, a problem that could easily be avoided with the correct dental care and diet.