A recent study by researchers at the University of Melbourne's Oral Health Cooperative Research Centre suggests that sugar free products can cause measurable damage to the tooth enamel, NDTV reports.
"Many people are not aware that while reducing your sugar intake does reduce your risk of dental decay, the chemical mix of acids in some foods and drinks can cause the equally damaging condition of dental erosion," said Eric Reynolds, CEO of the Oral Health CRC.
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"Dental erosion occurs when acid dissolves the hard tissues of the tooth. In its early stages erosion strips away the surface layers of tooth enamel. If it progresses to an advanced stage it can expose the soft pulp inside the tooth," said Reynolds.
For the study, the researchers tested 23 different types of drink. They found that drinks that contain acidic additives and with low pH levels cause significant damage to dental enamel, even if the drink is sugar-free.
The researchers also measured dental enamel softening and tooth surface loss due to the consuming the range of drinks. They found that majority of soft drinks and sports drinks caused softening of dental enamel by 30-50 per cent.
The study concluded that both sugar-containing and sugar-free soft drinks produced measurable loss of the tooth surface, with no significant difference between the two groups of drinks.
Reynolds also pointed out that 'sugar-free' labelling does not mean a product is safe for teeth.
"We have even found sugar-free confectionery products that are labelled 'tooth-friendly' and which when tested were found to be erosive," said Reynolds.