Sugar-free Drinks Soften Enamel

From an early age it is drilled into our heads that sugary drinks and foods are bad for you. Of course, that is good advice. Sugar is a great source of food and energy for bacteria that can cause tooth decay. Naturally, many people opt for the sugar-free alternatives to these drinks in good faith thinking that they are saving their teeth from unneeded damage. Unfortunately you may want to take a look at what is in that sugar-free drink. A new study from the University of Melbourne’s Oral Health Cooperative Research Center has indicated that many of those sugar-free drinks are stripping the enamel off your teeth.

Glass of diet soda surrounded by ice

Party Enamel

The researchers looked at 23 different kinds of sugary and sugar-free drinks, including soft drinks and sports drinks. They found that even if the drink is sugar-free, the acidity of the drink can soften your enamel by 30 to 50%. There were only two drinks that were examined that did not soften enamel, and both of those contained higher levels of calcium.

If left unchecked, the dental erosion can not only strip the enamel, but can make teeth more vulnerable to decay and potential infection. And since enamel is the attractive white outer coating of your teeth, removing it leaves your teeth yellow in a way that won’t respond to teeth whitening. Instead, porcelain veneers or dental crowns are necessary to restore the appearance of your teeth.

Stop The Strip!

It is important to keep an eye out for citric acid and phosphoric acid. If you decide that you are still going to drink these kind of beverages it is best to use a straw and drink fluoridated water afterwards. This may seem counter-intuitive, but you should also wait at least an hour before brushing your teeth after drinking because this can further damage the softened enamel (but be sure to drink water afterwards!).

Of course, regular visits to your dentist are also recommended. If you find yourself in Centennial or Denver and need a dentist, consider paying a visit to Park Meadow Dental. If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment give us a call at (303) 759-5652.