ACIDS IN SUGAR-FREE BEVERAGES COULD ERODE TOOTH ENAMEL
Acidic foods and beverages can wear away the enamel that protects teeth, a process known as tooth erosion. Tooth erosion is permanent and may open the door for bacteria to cause cavities or infection. It can also make teeth appear discolored, as white enamel is worn away to expose the yellow layer below called dentin.
In a recent study, researchers wanted to see whether non-carbonated bottled water, flavored sparkling water and plain sparkling water might cause dental erosion. Recently extracted human teeth were soaked in 7 different sugar-free beverages (and one soda with sugar for comparison) to see which, if any, beverages caused erosion. Teeth were exposed for twenty-four hours, which the researchers considered to replicate a year’s worth of exposure to these beverages.
When measuring the results of soda with sugar versus sugar-free soda, they found acids in both caused dental enamel to erode. Sweetener type was less of a factor, as it was the acid in the beverage that eroded the enamel. Researchers also observed erosion in flavored sparkling waters, though it was less than that observed for sugar-containing and sugar-free soda. The only beverages in the study that did not erode enamel were non-carbonated, non-flavored bottled waters.
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