The science of food, drink and dental health
Any food or drink that contains fermentable carbohydrates (sugars and starches), including calorific sparkling drinks, can play a role in the development of tooth decay (caries and cavities). Also, any food or drink that is acidic has the potential to play a role in enamel erosion. Through good dental hygiene and other health practices, you can help reduce the risk of tooth decay and erosion.
Tooth decay (caries)
This develops as carbohydrates, sugars and starches are fermented by bacteria on the teeth. The process produces acids which break down or ‘demineralise’ the enamel on the teeth. Time is an important factor in this; the less time oral bacteria is exposed to sugars and some starches, the less likely it is that acid will be produced by the bacteria causing tooth decay. Sparkling drinks naturally leave the mouth quickly after they are swallowed, which helps reduce the time of exposure.
This is the irreversible loss of dental hard tissue due to persistent exposure to acids. Many sparkling drinks are acidic in nature, which means their effect on tooth enamel is similar to that of orange juice, apple juice or grape juice. Saliva helps buffer the acids, helping to reduce the effect on tooth enamel. It also contains calcium, phosphorus and fluoride, which can help to replace minerals lost from the tooth enamel.
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