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How do acids in drinks and food affect teeth?
The health of our teeth is very important to avoid unpleasant visits to the dentist. That's why many people pay attention to good dental hygiene. However, if we eat the wrong food or drink, it can be very dangerous for our teeth. Researchers have now found that consuming acidic beverages, such as fruit teas and flavored water, can damage teeth and tooth enamel.
The researchers at King’s College London found that acidic drinks damage teeth and tooth enamel. The doctors published the results of their study in the English-language journal "British Dental Journal" (BDJ).
Study included 300 subjects
If you like to drink fruit teas and so-called flavored water between meals, this can cause problems on the teeth and damage the tooth enamel, because these drinks greatly increase the risk of erosion from acid. The experts found this when they examined the diet of 300 people with severe erosive tooth wear for their study. It was clear to see that the problem increased when people consumed more such drinks.
Risk increases if the drinks remain in the mouth for too long
Liqueurs, fruit teas, diet drinks, sweetened drinks and flavored water contain acids that cause tooth damage. If people drink such drinks in sips over a period of five minutes and / or they keep the drinks in their mouths longer before swallowing, the risk of tooth erosion (tooth enamel degradation) increases massively, the researchers warn.
How strong is the consumption of acidic drinks?
If you keep such drinks in your mouth for too long or snack on acidic fruits piece by piece for a few minutes instead of eating them directly, it will damage your teeth, explains author Dr. Saoirse O’Toole from King’s College London. The scientists found that people who consumed drinks such as water with a slice of lemon or fruit-flavored tea twice a day between meals were more than 11 times more likely to experience moderate or severe tooth erosion. However, this number was halved when the drinks were taken with meals. Sugar-free soft drinks were as erosive as sugar-sweetened, the report said. And pickled foods or products with vinegar can also lead to tooth erosion.
Which drinks contain the harmful acids?
Tooth-damaging beverages included fruit teas, flavored water, diet drinks, sweetened drinks, and alcohol. In contrast, water, tea, coffee, milk and carbonated water did not contain any harmful acids, the doctors explain.
Acidic drinks should be consumed with meals
Eating acidic drinks during a meal helps minimize damage because chewing meals increases saliva production. Acidic drinks should also be consumed as quickly as possible, and not only sipped over a long period of time. So-called soft drinks in particular should only be consumed with meals, the experts advise. A straw can also prevent the acid in the drinks from coming into contact with the teeth. The consumption of water, nutritious drinks like milk and foods like cheese is advisable after acidic eating or drinking in order to neutralize it, the doctors explain further.
What promotes tooth erosion?
Tooth erosion is a progressive loss of the hard substance (tooth enamel) of a tooth through chemical processes that have no bacterial effect. The acidity of food or beverages supports tooth erosion more than the sugar content (bacteria, together with sugar, cause tooth decay but no increased tooth erosion). Diet, lifestyle, and some medications can further increase your risk. The use of fluoride toothpastes or douches and proper nutrition can reduce the risk of tooth erosion.
Many children and the elderly suffer from tooth erosion
The latest research shows that many children and adolescents have tooth surface loss due to tooth erosion. Tooth erosion is also considered to be a major cause of tooth damage in older generations. (as)