With all the talk of how damaging fizzy and sugar-loaded fruit drinks can be, many parents have made the decision to switch to sugar-free versions for their children. While dietary health is a major driving force behind this decision, protecting a child’s teeth is also at the fore of parents’ worries here.
This is why the latest research finding from the University of Melbourne’s Oral Health Cooperative Research centre is so concerning. According to the research team’s study, sugar-free drinks can actually cause significant damage to tooth enamel, too.
The team tested 23 different types of drink, including soft drinks and sports drinks, and found that drinks containing acidic additives with low pH levels can still harm the teeth – even where there is no added sugar to the drink itself.
The research centre’s CEO, Eric Reynolds commented on the findings, saying: “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 went on to explain that dental erosion occurs when acid dissolves the hard tissues of the tooth, effectively stripping away the surface tooth enamel. If the erosion progresses, it can even extend further, to the inside pulp of the tooth.
Mr Reynolds warned people that just because a label declares a drink to be ‘sugar-free’, it does not mean it’s good for your teeth: “We have even found sugar-free confectionery products that are labelled ‘Tooth-friendly’ and which when tested were found to be erosive.”