Sugar-Free Drinks Cause Serious Dental Problems

Nov 30, 2015 11:08 AM EST | By Dominique Mijares

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Consumers in this generation usually prefer products that are beneficial for their lifestyle. Some examples are sugar free weight-loss drinks, fruit juices and diet sodas. There have been a lot of arguments if these indeed promote health or if they have side-effects that can result to serious conditions such as cancer.

A recent study by the University of Melbourne's Oral Health Cooperative Research Centre goes with the argument against these drinks. The research states that these sugar-free drinks we enjoy can actually cause extensive damage to the tooth enamel.

The research team conducted tests for 23 different types of drinks (soft drinks and sports drinks). Even if the drink is sugar-free, they found that the drinks have acidic additives and if there are low pH levels, they can induce damage to the dental enamel.

Oral Health Professional
(Photo : Getty Images)

Eric Reynolds, CEO of the Oral Health CRC, said: "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."

He added, "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."

Oral health professionals can help prevent early dental erosion. There are procedures available for individuals to seek replacement for the lost minerals. Other methods involve having a filling or crown. The researchers found that there is an occurrence of dental enamel softening and tooth surface loss after the tooth's contact to sugar-free drinks.

The soft drinks and sports drinks increased the softening of dental enamel by 30-50 percent. There are no significant differences between sugar-containing and sugar-free drinks - both still attributed to loss of tooth surface. Out of the eight sports drinks tested, all except two were found to cause dental enamel loss. 

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