Fruit juices, soda most damaging to tooth enamel

By Staff Writer • Published: July 7th, 2016
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

Americans can’t seem to kick the habit of sipping on sweet drinks … and they’re paying for it in more ways than one.

Despite the amount of sugar and acidity present in soda and fruit juices, Americans continue to consume them. According to a 2012 Gallup poll, 48 percent of Americans drink at least one soda a day. On average, soda drinkers typically guzzle more than two-and-a-half glasses a day.

With each glass of fruit juice or soda a person consumes, tooth enamel weakens because of the acid in the drinks.

When acid from soda or fruit juice meets enamel, the acid wears away at it, leaving the tooth less protected in the future. Saliva in our mouths helps to protect enamel from acid, but if the saliva isn’t given enough time to restore the enamel, it can suffer permanent damage.

In fact, in a study of more than 3,000 adults, 70 percent had some form of dental erosion. Most of these people just had mild tooth wear, while 10 percent suffered from moderate damage and 5 percent had severe tooth wear.

The groups who had moderate and severe tooth wear also reported consuming more fruit juices and sodas than the group with just mild tooth damage. The people who suffered only mild tooth wear reported drinking more milk instead of soda or fruit juice.

If you do drink fruit juice and sodas, it isn’t too late to scale back. Instead of choosing these drinks during and between meals, opt for water or milk. Neither of these options are as acidic as soda or fruit juice. Any beverage with a pH lower than 5.5 can cause damage. Water has a pH of 7, whereas soda and juice have a pH of 3.

Sweet drinks may be rewarding in the short run, but the damage to your tooth enamel could leave a sour taste in your mouth.