Fruit teas and flavoured water have become very popular in recent years, as people seek healthier alternatives to fizzy drinks, but a new study has warned that these options may not be quite as good for us as anticipated.
Researchers from King’s College London carried out a study to ascertain the effects of drinking fruit teas and flavoured water on a regular basis. The team found that sipping on these drinks, especially between meals, increased the risk of enamel erosion.
During the trial period, researchers analysed the dietary habits of 300 people who suffered from significant enamel wear and found that fruit teas, juices, cordials, diet drinks and flavoured water all contributed to acid erosion. The drinks are particularly harmful when held in the mouth or swished around the teeth.
Lead author, Dr Saoirse O’Toole, from the Dental Institute at King’s College, said that holding acidic liquids in the mouth or nibbling bits of fruit over a period of time can cause significant damage to the tooth enamel.
The research team discovered that people who drank water with a slice of lemon and fruit teas twice a day between meals were up to 11 times more likely to experience enamel erosion. The figure was 50 percent lower when drinks were consumed at mealtimes.
The report also revealed that sugar-free drinks were equally harmful in terms of acid erosion as full-sugar versions and the study identified vinegar and pickled foods as risk factors for enamel wear.
Russ Ladwa, from the British Dental Association, recommended finishing drinks in one go rather than sipping between meals, swapping acidic drinks for water and using a straw to minimise the impact.