More Erosive than Battery Acid

You may want to reconsider reaching for a soft drink or sugar-laden fruit drink the next time you’re in the mood for a beverage. Other than the high caloric content of such drinks, these drinks can have a profoundly damaging effect on your tooth enamel. The culprits – citric acid and sugar. The average soft drink currently contains approximately 17 grams of sugar. That’s a tad more sugar than is found in 4 sugar cubes! Yuck.

What’s even more alarming as far as I’m concerned is that many soft drinks and fruit drinks contain citric acid. Citric acid is more erosive than hydrochloric and sulfuric acid – that’s battery acid for those of you who didn’t know. If that doesn’t make you want to put the can or bottle down I don’t know what will.

Tea to the Rescue

Luckily there are beverages that you can still enjoy that do not erode your tooth enamel – like water and tea. In fact, brewed tea is the best option when trying to avoid tooth erosion, according to a study in the July/August issue of General Dentistry, the clinical, peer-reviewed journal of the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD).

Brewed tea is also loaded with natural antioxidants, which are thought to decrease incidence of cancer, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes. Specifically, researchers have found that green tea has the most beneficial properties among teas.Experts also warn that drinking brewed tea will only provide health benefits and limit tooth erosion if you serve it in its pure form. That means, avoid adding milk, lemon, or sugar.

Tips for reducing tooth enamel erosion:

  • Reduce or eliminate carbonated beverages
  • Skip the additives such as sugar, lemon, and milk
  • Drink acidic drinks quickly and through a straw
  • Acidic drinks should be consumed at meals only to limit the exposure to acid on the teeth
  • Chew sugar-free gum to increase saliva flow in your mouth
  • Rinse with water to neutralize the acids, and wait an hour before brushing