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Sodas, Teas, Orange Juice Shown to Erode Teeth in as little as 12 Weeks

(July 20, 2009)

From General Dentistry May/June 2009 issue

Dental erosion is a demineralization process that affects hard dental tissues (such as enamel and dentin), independent of any microbial action. No amount of brushing will slow or stop the erosion caused by acidic drinks such as Pepsi, Sprite, black tea, green tea, orange juice and other beverages common to the American diet.

By the second week of testing, white enamel spots had formed on teeth exposed to soda. By week four, the entire tooth was discolored. After eight weeks researchers found beginning signs of enamel erosion.

The study, “Effects of common beverages on the development of cervical erosion lesions” conducted by lead author Mohamed A. Bassiouny, DMD, MSc, PhD used three commercially available fruit juices, and two popular types of tea.

The caramelized soda (Pepsi-Cola) had a pH level of 2.7 and contained carbonated water, high fructose corn syrup and/or sugar, caramel color, phosphoric acid, caffeine, citric acid, and natural flavors. The acidulated non-caramelized carbonated beverage (Sprite) had a pH level of 2.8 and contained carbonated water, high fructose corn syrup and/or sugar, citric acid, natural flavors, potassium benzoate, potassium citrate, ascorbic acid, and calcium di-sodium ethylene diamene tetra-acetic acid.

The three commercially available citrus fruit juices were orange juice (pH 4.0), grapefruit juice (pH 3.0), and lemon juice (pH 2.0). All were rich in ascorbic acid and contained other organic acids (including citric, malic, and succinic acids) in various concentrations. The orange juice averaged 0.64% citric acid, 0.13% malic acid, and 0.54% succinic acid, while the grapefruit juice contained 0.86% citric acid, 0.13% malic acid, and 0.46% succinic acid. The lemon juice contained the highest amount of citric acid (4.19%) and an average level of malic acid (0.17%) but no succinic acid.
Editors note:  The study used only acidic fluids and did not include acidic foods.  Readers with personal  concerns regarding this issue are urged to avoid acidic foods and drinks and to consult with a dentist familiar with this topic.
Source article: Academy of General Dentistry

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