soda and dental erosionA new study published in the Journal of Public Health Dentistry shows that soft drinks and fruit juice play a significant role in the severity of dental erosion. Dental erosion happens when the enamel, the protective coating of the tooth, wears away from exposure to acidic substances. When this happens, the tooth loses its mineral content and becomes very sensitive, particularly to hot or cold food. When the enamel wears away it leaves the dentine area of the tooth exposed, and because it is a sensitive area it causes a person to experience pain.

Typically saliva helps cancel out the acidity, and can help restore the mouth’s natural balance, but when an individual regularly consumes acidic food or drinks, the mouth is not given enough time to repair and balance its self. When these acid attacks start to happen often, it causes the surface of the teeth to begin to wear away.  Soft and fruit juice typically have a pH value lower than 5.5; the pH value is the measure of acidity and typically anything lower than a 5.5 is considered to be acidic and can damage your teeth.

For this study, 3.773 participants were examined, and out of the participants researchers discovered that 79% displayed evidence of dental erosion, 64% had mild tooth wear, 10% had moderate tooth wear, and 5% of the participants had signs of severe tooth wear. It was discovered that the participants in the study that had moderate to severe tooth wear consumed more soft drinks and fruit juices than the participants in the other groups. In fact, milk was the most popular drink among the participants who had low levels of tooth wear. In addition, it was also discovered that men are at twice the risk for dental erosion then women, and tooth wear became more severe with age. In order to limit the risk for erosion, water and milk are the best choices over the sugary drinks; it’s not only better for your teeth but for your health as well!