A recent study published by British researchers in the Journal of Public Health Dentistry linked severe and moderate dental erosion to a high consumption of soda and fruit juice. While soda is an obvious culprit, even fruit juices that say “no added sugar” on the label can contain excessive amounts of sugar. The sugar may be disguised as carbohydrates on the labels.
The researchers obtained their data by accessing the records of 3,773 adults who took part in the country’s 2003-2004 National Health and Nutrition Examinations Survey. They found that 79% of the people had some level of dental erosion. Five percent suffered from severe tooth wear, 10% from moderate, and 64% from mild wear to their teeth.
Part of the survey involved answering a questionnaire on food frequency, so the researchers were able to correlate the types of beverages consumed with the degree of dental erosion. In addition to correlating the consumption of sugary fruit juices and sodas with dental wear, these investigators also correlated a low degree of tooth wear with a preference for milk as a beverage.
This study also identified a gender difference in the degree of dental erosion. Men were more than twice as likely to suffer from this condition as women, and as people got older, they tended to have a more severe degree of tooth wear.
Dental erosion occurs as the enamel wears down and can cause pain and sensitivity. A good dental team can help erosion from getting worse, but severe cases can call for costly and invasive treatment.
While your patients probably know not to drink a lot of soda, it may be worth educating them on the fact that consuming fruit juice can also harm their teeth. Water and milk are the best choices for overall health and for good oral health.