Habitually drinking acidic drinks such as fruit teas or lemon and water, as well as changing patterns of eating will increase the risks of tooth erosion, scientists have found
Drinking fruit teas and hot water with lemon can leave people 11 times more likely to suffer tooth erosion, scientists have found.
Salt and vinegar crisps are also among problem foods which contain high levels of acid that can ruin teeth, a team from King’s College London discovered.
Their investigation, published in the British Dental Journal, also found that how and when a person eats contributes to the risk of developing the condition.
While their data review found that increased consumption between meals was the biggest risk factor, it noted: “However, habitually drinking acidic drinks by sipping them slowly or swishing, rinsing or holding acidic drinks in the mouth prior to swallowing, will also increase risk of progression”.
The researchers have suggested the increase in patients with tooth erosion may be linked to changing patterns of eating, such as increased snacking in both children and adults.
They found the rate of erosion was halved when drinks were consumed with meals.
Lead author Dr Saoirse O’Toole said: “It is well known that an acidic diet is associated with erosive tooth wear, however our study has shown the impact of the way in which acidic food and drinks are consumed.”
Among the fruit teas, those with high levels of acid included the popular ginger and lemon, berry and rosehip flavours.
Dr O’Toole added: “With the prevalence of erosive tooth wear increasing, it is vitally important that we address this preventable aspect of erosive tooth wear.
“Reducing dietary acid intake can be key to delaying progression of tooth erosion. While behaviour change can be difficult to achieve, specific, targeted behavioural interventions may prove successful.”
It found sweets or lozenges also have a large erosive potential when eaten regularly.
While research has also previously found that sugar-free soft drinks are as bad for tooth erosion as sugared beverages.
Tooth erosion is not the same as tooth decay. Erosion affects the whole tooth surface whereas decay is when a cavity is formed.
Erosion, which affects more than 30% of adults in Europe, is ranked as the third most important dental condition, after cavities and gum disease.
Source: The Mirror