Warning over erosive effects of fruit teas

March 12th, 2018

On stepping into a branch of any coffee shop we can be overwhelmed by the huge array of choices that face us when it comes to placing our order. As well as a huge range of coffees, hot chocolates and cold drinks, the tea market is also rapidly expanding. And whilst it might seem like a healthier option to go for a ‘fruit’ tea, new research has found that such choices aren’t such good news for our teeth.

Research carried out at King’s College London, and reported by the BBC, has warned over the potential for fruit teas to have an erosive effect on our teeth. They may wear away or damage the enamel. The research found that participants who drank water with a slice of lemon, or hot fruit teas approximately twice a day between meals, were over 10 times more likely to experience problems with tooth erosion on a moderate to severe basis. This was particularly the case if drinks were consumed in between meals, or if they were held and savoured in the mouth for too long.

Alongside fruit teas, there were other acidic culprits that we need to watch out for: flavoured water, fruit squashes, alcohol and cordials all have the potential to cause damage to our teeth in this way. On the other hand, options such as water (still or sparkling), milk, and tea or coffee are far better news for our teeth.

So, what is tooth erosion? Tooth erosion occurs when, over time, the hard, outer layer of our teeth is worn away through a series of chemical processes. Rather than being increased by the sugar (which instead causes tooth decay, alongside bacteria), it is the acidic content of food and drinks that is to blame in cases of erosion.

In order to protect your teeth from the erosive effects of acidic drinks, there are a number of steps you can consider:

  • Rather than consuming such drinks in between meals, have them with your meal.
  • Avoid continuous sipping or holding the drinks in your mouth: swallow them quickly.
  • Try to balance your diet: if you know you’re likely to have a glass of wine in the evening, don’t have an acidic drink earlier in the day.
  • Use a straw so that the acidic drink has reduced contact with your teeth.
  • After having an acidic drink, drink some water, or consume a food such as cheese, which neutralises the acid.

Therefore, next time you’re in line in the coffee shop making your choice for your morning drink, have a think about what you’re consuming, and what the acidity might be like. Be mindful of the potential erosive powers of certain drinks, and ensure you make balanced choices.

For more information, visit the BBC website: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-43141587

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