Okemos Dental Services
It All Begins with Your Smile. Award-Winning Dental Care in Okemos & Beyond

Soft Drinks Contributing to Dental Erosion

How much are soft drinks really harming your teeth?

Dentists and researchers are concerned with the amount of soft drinks consumed because they may result in more dental caries and dental erosion. Children and adolescents in the US have increased their consumption of soft drinks over the last 30 years, with the peak age of consumption from ages 12-19. At the peak age, consumption by males is about 273 kcal per day and by females is 171 kcal per day. On any given day, one-half of the US population consumes sugared soft drinks and one-quarter consumes at least 200 kcal of their diet per day from soft drinks.

The acidity and low-pH in beverages such as soft drinks can contribute to tooth decay. A study was done by Gravelle et al. (2015) to determine to what extent commonly consumed carbonated soft drinks may cause dental erosion. The study found that soft drinks consumed during a meal are less likely to cause dental erosion than if the soft drink were consumed alone or sipped on throughout the day. In the study, previously unerupted teeth were continuously exposed to various soft drinks for 20 days to simulate a total exposure time of approximately 9.5 years. The soft drinks that had the highest erosive capacity were Sprite Zero at 44.52%, Mountain Dew Voltage at 42.60% and Mellow Yellow Zero at 37.60% (percentages of exposed surfaces eroded). The researchers found it interesting that 5 of the 7 most erosive soft drinks were ones without sugar like diet or zero-calorie beverages.

The main characteristics found about these soft drinks that are known to promote dental erosion are low pH, a constant flow over the teeth and whether the drink is diet or zero-calorie.

Reducing the amount and frequency of consuming acidic beverages like soft drinks along with using drinking techniques such as diluting the beverage, drinking cooler (less than room temperature) beverages, and drinking through a straw to reduce the duration of time your teeth are exposed to the beverage would be beneficial in the long term.