Drinking your teeth away?

Most people realise that drinks containing a high sugar level can cause tooth decay. Soft drinks for example can contain as much as 1kg of sugar per ten litres. Frequent consumption of carbonated drinks, mixers, energy drinks and some fruit juices is a common cause of tooth damage.

boy drinking soda dentist takapuna

Not so well known is that acidity of many of these drinks causes tooth erosion. The normal pH of the mouth is 7 and the pearly white enamel surface starts to dissolve at pH 5.5. Stomach acid is around pH 1 (similar to battery acid). Most carbonated and energy drinks, including diet ones, have a Ph of 3 to 4. The way the pH scale works means a drink with a pH of 3.5 is 100 times more acidic than the pH 5.5 that teeth begin to dissolve at.

A recent study showed energy drinks are twice as likely to erode teeth compared to other sports drinks.

Some of these drinks contain citric acid but the majority of them use phosphoric acid. Phosphoric acid is commonly used as a flavouring agent in these beverages, also jams and jellies and is used for rust proofing metals and by dentists to etch teeth for bonding.

When consuming these drinks, try and swallow quickly rather than swishing the liquid around in your mouth to cut down the time your teeth are bathing in the acid. Rinsing your mouth out with water afterwards can also help. Should you drink moderate amounts of theses now or in the past, ask your dental team if they can see any signs of erosion on your teeth. These signs can include pitting, thinning or shortening teeth, sensitivity and even discolouring.

I enjoy some of these drinks myself… the key is moderation!