The University of Adelaide has release a study warning parents about the permanent damage that can be done to the teeth of their children, by consuming soft drinks, fruit juice, sports drinks and other drinks high in acidity.
The researchers demonstrated the lifelong damage within 30 seconds of an acid attack. The acidity in these drinks, combined with night time tooth grinding and reflux can cause irreversible damage to teeth. The cases of tooth erosion from the consumption of acidic beverages is on the rise in children and young adults.
“Dental erosion is an issue of growing concern in developed countries, and it is often only detected clinically after extensive tooth wear has occurred,” said Dr Sarbin Ranjitkar, corresponding author of a paper on tooth enamel erosion.
“Such erosion can lead to a lifetime of compromised dental health that may require complex and extensive rehabilitation — but it is also preventable with minimal intervention,” said Dr Ranjitkar.
“Often, children and adolescents grind their teeth at night, and they can have undiagnosed regurgitation or reflux, which brings with it acidity from the stomach. Combined with drinks high in acidity, this creates a triple threat to young people’s teeth which can cause long-term damage,”Dr Ranjitka said.
“Our research has shown that permanent damage to the tooth enamel will occur within the first 30 seconds of high acidity coming into contact with the teeth. This is an important finding and it suggests that such drinks are best avoided.
“If high acidity drinks are consumed, it is not simply a matter of having a child clean their teeth an hour or 30 minutes later and hoping they’ll be okay — the damage is already done,” he said.
The researchers recommend that children consume fresh fruit rather than drinking fruit juice to minimize the level of acidity that can damage their teeth.
“The important thing to appreciate is that there is a balance between acids and host protection in a healthy mouth. Once that balance is shifted in favor of the acids, regardless of the type of acid, teeth become damaged,”Dr Ranjitka said.
Chelsea Mann, Sarbin Ranjitkar, Dimitra Lekkas, Colin Hall, John A. Kaidonis, Grant C. Townsend, Alan H. Brook. Three-dimensional profilometric assessment of early enamel erosion simulating gastric regurgitation. Journal of Dentistry, 2014; DOI: 10.1016/j.jdent.2014.06.011