ADELAIDE, Australia: For the first time, researchers at the University of Adelaide have been able to demonstrate that high-acidity drinks, such as soft drinks, fruit juice and sports drinks, can cause permanent damage to tooth enamel even within the first 30 seconds of acid attacks. Thus, the researchers warned parents, in particular, to avoid such drinks in their children’s diet.

 

In laboratory tests, the researchers exposed human tooth enamel surfaces to liquids with pH values of 1.5 and 3.0 for 30, 60 or 120 seconds, and measured quantitative changes in the average surface roughness using confocal and electron microscopy.

They found that the average surface roughness increased significantly with the duration of the erosive challenge. In addition, a micrographic analysis revealed severely etched enamel rods, especially in enamel samples that were exposed to a pH value of 1.5.

“Dental erosion is an issue of growing concern in developed countries, and it is often only detected clinically after extensive tooth wear has occurred,” said study author Dr Sarbin Ranjitkar, a member of the university's Craniofacial Biology Research Group. “Such erosion can lead to a lifetime of compromised dental health that may require complex and extensive rehabilitation, but it is also preventable with minimal intervention,” Ranjitkar added.

Ranjitkar thus recommended that parents minimise consumption of any kind of soft drinks, sports drinks, fruit juice or acidic foods by their children. She suggested that children consume fresh fruit instead of drinking fruit juice, as these may contain additional food acids.

Moreover, the researchers believe that the findings of the study could provide a foundation for further research, leading to the development of highly sensitive clinical diagnostic tools and preventive strategies for dental erosion in its initial stages.

The study, titled “Three-dimensional profilometric assessment of early enamel erosion simulating gastric regurgitation”, was published online on 1 July in the Journal of Dentistry ahead of print.