Tooth erosion can be influenced by how people eat and drink as well as what they eat and drink, research shows.
An investigation by King’s College London has found that the chances of developing tooth erosion can be most significantly increased by eating and drinking acidic foods and drinks, particularly between meals.
It also found that consuming acidic drinks twice a day between meals, such as soft drinks, water with a slice of lemon or hot fruit flavoured teas, can increase the chances of moderate to severe tooth erosion by 11 times.
‘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,’ lead author of the study, Dr Saoirse O’Toole, said.
‘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.’
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Researchers in the study identified foods, drinks and medications that can be more erosive to teeth.
Chief among them were drinks that had added fruit or fruit flavourings, with the researchers claiming that putting fruit or fruit flavouring in a drink can increase the erosive potential of a drink to put it on a par with cola.
The study also found:
- Sugar-free soft drinks are as erosive as sugar-sweetened ones
- Fruit flavoured teas and fruit flavoured sweets, lozenges or medications have large erosive potential when consumed regularly
- Sipping, swishing, holding or rinsing drinks in the mouth prior to swallowing increases the risk of tooth erosion
- The increase in patients with tooth erosion may be linked to changing patterns of eating, such as increased snacking in both children and adults
- Drinks are more likely to cause tooth erosion when served hot
- Vinegars and pickled products can also lead to tooth erosion.