Drinking fruit tea between meals risks erosion of teeth

An item in the Daily Telegraph has raised awareness of the impact of drinking diet drinks or fruit tea between meals.

>> Click here to read.

According to a paper published in the BDJ, this habit makes us up to 11 times more likely to suffer from tooth erosion.

Consuming acidic drinks – such as fruit teas, or lemon in water – between meals had one of the most damaging effects. It increased the chance of moderate or severe tooth erosion, eleven-fold.

When consumed with meals, the drinks do just half as much damage.

The study also found sugar-free soft drinks are as erosive as sugar-sweetened ones.

The investigation, published in the British Dental Journal, said dentists were seeing increasing numbers of patients with tooth erosion, which may be linked to changing patterns of eating, such as increased snacking.

Below is the abstract from the paper:


S. O'Toole & F. Mullan. The role of the diet in tooth wear. BDJ; 23 February 2018: doi:10.1038/sj.bdj.2018.127 (published online).



An acidic diet has been associated with erosive tooth wear. However, some people who consume dietary acids develop erosive tooth wear and some do not. This review paper provides an overview of the risk factors of dietary acid consumption which increase the likelihood of developing severe erosive tooth wear. Increased frequency of dietary acid consumption, particularly between meals appears to be the predominant risk factor. However, habitually drinking acidic drinks by sipping them slowly or swishing, rinsing or holding acidic drinks in the mouth before swallowing will also increase risk of progression. Consuming fruit over long time periods at a single sitting and dietary acids being served at increased temperatures have also been implicated. Additions of fruit or fruit flavourings to drinks and regular consumption of vinegars, pickles, acidic medications or acidic sugar-free sweets are potential hidden risk factors that should be discussed with patients at risk of erosive tooth wear progression. Behaviour change is difficult to achieve but specific, targeted behavioural interventions and offering alternatives may increase success.

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