Flavored and Sugar Free Drinks are Bad News for Your Smile!
But EVERYONE drinks them, they are so good, and it's not real sugar!
Wrong. Given that many more people drink flavored sweet beverages today than ever before, ESPECIALLY kids, there is the likelihood of an emerging dental crisis. However, the switch to sugar substitutes might not be the answer to this problem, the researchers suggest.
The Medical University of Warsaw in Poland investigated several drinks available on the market. They considered pH, titratable acidity and the concentration of phosphorus in the various flavored mineral waters available at retail locations. They also used solutions of xylitol, erythritol, stevia, and glucose-fructose to see what effect such sweeteners have on exogenous erosion of tooth enamel in the laboratory, with a view to understanding how that might affect dental health in the outside world.
Both flavored mineral water and sweeteners tested in this study cause exogenous erosion of enamel according to the results of phosphorus released from hydroxyapatite," the team explains. It is worrying that they discovered that "The erosive potential of the tested sugar substitutes concerned as beneficial for our health was similar to the glucose-fructose syrup."
The team adds that "replacing glucose-fructose syrup with another sweetener has no beneficial effect on the exogenous erosion," Indeed, "Any type of sweetener enhances the exogenous erosion potential of the solution [because of the drink's] low pH.
Ok, Ok! I'll buy the sugar free drink - problem solved!
Unfortunately, wrong again. Scientists at the University of Melbourne's Oral Health Cooperative Research Centre have warned about the damage sugar-free drinks can do to tooth enamel. Researchers in the Centre tested 23 different types of drink, including soft drinks and sports drinks, and found drinks that contain acidic additives and with low pH levels cause measurable damage to dental enamel, even if the drink is sugar-free.
"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.
"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."
Early dental erosion can usually be reversed by oral health professionals with treatments to replace lost minerals. In more advanced cases, the lost surface of a tooth may need a filling or crown.
The majority of soft drinks and sports drinks caused softening of dental enamel by 30%-50%.
Both sugar-containing and sugar-free soft drinks (including flavoured mineral waters) produced measurable loss of the tooth surface, with no significant difference between the two groups of drinks.
Of 8 sports drinks tested, all but 2 (those with higher calcium content) were found to cause loss of dental enamel.
Professor Reynolds says 'sugar-free' labelling does not necessarily mean a product is safe for teeth. "We have even found sugar-free confectionery products that are labelled 'Toothfriendly' and which when tested were found to be erosive."
Preventing dental erosion:
Check ingredients for acidic additives, especially citric acid (ingredient number 330) and phosphoric acid (ingredient number 338).
Drink more water and limit soft drinks and sports drinks.
After eating or drinking acidic products, don't brush your teeth straight away as this can remove the softened tooth layer. Instead, rinse your mouth with water and wait one hour before brushing.
Have regular check-ups with your oral health professional at New Age Dental Group.