Dentists in Australia and New Zealand may have the right idea. Dr. Andrea Shepperson, a New Zealand dentist is backing a call by Australian dental experts pushing for a warning label on soft drinks. This warning label urging is in response to recent studies by the Australian Dental Association. In an intense study, Dr. Jason Armfield found that 56% of Australian children ages 5 to 16 consumed at least one sugared drink a day. Even more alarming is that 13% consumed three or more sugared drinks per day.
What these finding indicate, according to Dr. Armfield is, “Consistent evidence has shown that high acidity of many sweetened drinks, particularly soft drinks and sports drinks, can be a factor in dental erosion, as well as the sugar itself contributing to tooth decay.”
Dr. Shepperson backs this push and stated that “Caffeine can create a dry mouth and it reduces the protective effect of saliva on teeth. These ingredients are a lethal combination that can cause dental erosion and decay.”
She went on to further distinguish erosion from decay. “Erosion is the chemical dissolving of tooth enamel from an acid source – often a drink. It is recognized by pits or potholes in back teeth, hollow and worn teeth, and teeth that are getting darker in color or more sensitive. The patterns are different but the outcomes are similar – unnecessary and avoidable damage to teeth, caused largely by our diet.”
“Warning labels on drinks outlining the risks of dental erosion would be a sensible guideline,” says Dr. Shepperson.
Another interesting point to note is that dental erosion is not just caused by soft drinks. Fruit drinks, energy drinks, herbal teas and even sports drinks also pose a dental health risk.
Just because a drink appears to boast “health” properties doesn’t mean that it is healthy for your teeth as well.
As a side note: In the United States, we are faring far worse –
In comparing the Australian study to North American children, between the ages of 2 – 19 years old, 70% of males and 60% of females drink a sugary beverage every single day.
However, from the preview of the first National Soda Summit, it looks like the United States is stepping up to do something about this soda epidemic.