Sugar-Free Drinks Harm Teeth, Too
Your mother might have warned that sugar will “rot your teeth” when you begged for that candy bar at the checkout counter, but sugar apparently is not the only enemy of good dental health.
Researchers at the Oral Health Cooperative Research Centre (CRC), based at the University of Melbourne, Australia, tested 23 different types of sugar-free drinks -- including soft drinks and sports drinks.
They found those that contain acidic additives and those with low pH levels cause measurable damage to tooth enamel, even if they have no sugar.
Why is that?
Sugar is linked to tooth decay because it forms a plaque on the tooth surface that bacteria digest and convert to acid. It is the acid that attacks teeth by dissolving the outer layers of tooth enamel. Thus, drinks that are acidic, whether they contain sugar or not, can also erode teeth.
The studies found that the majority of soft drinks and sports drinks led to softening of dental enamel by between a third and a half.
Sodas and other carbonated drinks are acidic because they contain carbonic acid, which results from dissolving carbon dioxide into them to make them fizzy.
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