High-Acidity Drinks Cause Permanent Damage to Young Mouths

First Posted: Aug 05, 2014 09:47 AM EDT

A sip or two of soda for young children carry some serious health consequences for their teeth. A new study conducted by dental researchers at the University of Adelaide in Australia found that high acidity drinks--including sodas, fruit juice, sports drinks and other beverages--form a "triple-threat" of permanent damage to young mouths. Even worse, the damage can hit growing teeth in less than 30 seconds of consumption.

"Dental erosion is an issue of growing concern in developed countries, and it is often only detected clinically after extensive tooth wear has occurred," said Dr. Sarbin Ranjitkar, corresponding author of a paper on tooth enamel erosion, in a news release.

Ranjitkar noted that the number of tooth erosion cases is on the rise, primarily due to consumption of acidic beverages in children and young adults.

"Often, children and adolescents grind their teeth at night, and they can have undiagnosed regurgitation or reflux, which brings with it acidity from the stomach. Combined with drinks high in acidity, this creates a triple threat to young people's teeth which can cause long-term damage," he added.

The National Institute on Dental and Craniofacial Research notes that as tooth decay has decreased for most Americans over the past four decades, certain disparities remain among some groups. In addition, the downward trend has recently reversed for young children.

"Our research has shown that permanent damage to the tooth enamel will occur within the first 30 seconds of high acidity coming into contact with the teeth. This is an important finding and it suggests that such drinks are best avoided," Ranjitkar concluded. "If high acidity drinks are consumed, it is not simply a matter of having a child clean their teeth an hour or 30 minutes later and hoping they'll be okay - the damage is already done."

Researchers recommend that parents give their children fresh fruit instead of fruit juice. Soda and other more unhealthy drinks should be avoided, all-together.

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