Sugar-Free Beverages Cause Dental Enamel To Soften

First Posted: Nov 30, 2015 04:40 PM EST

If you think sugar-free drinks keep your teeth free from damage, think again. New research shows that these drinks can also do a lot of damage to your tooth enamel as --not just those sweetened with sugar.

"Many people are not aware that while reducing your sugar intake does reduce your risk of dental decay, the chemical mix of acids in some foods and drinks can cause the equally damaging condition of dental erosion," Melbourne Laureate Professor Eric Reynolds, CEO of the Oral Health CRC, said in a news release."Dental erosion occurs when acid dissolves the hard tissues of the tooth. In its early stages erosion strips away the surface layers of tooth enamel. If it progresses to an advanced stage it can expose the soft pulp inside the tooth."

During the study, researchers at the University of Melbourne's Oral health Cooperative Research Center measured dental enamel softening and tooth surface loss following exposure to a range of drinks. They found that both soft and sports drinks caused dental enamel softening by 30 to 50 percent-and that included those sweetened with sugar-free sweeteners and those sweetened with sugar. Even mineral waters were among those responsible for teeth issues, and of 8 sports drinks tested, all but 2 (those with higher calcium content) were found to cause loss of dental enamel.

There are things you can do to prevent dental erosion, researchers say. To start, check the ingredients on products for acidic additives-particularly citric acid (ingredient 330) and phosphoric acid (ingredient number 338. It's also good to drink more water (preferably that's fluoridated). And then in between meals, always brush and floss. Lastly, regular dental health check-ups are a must.

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