It's billed as a healthy drink, but is fruit juice destroying our teeth?
So you started the New Year with a health kick, and the first thing on your shopping list was fruit juice. It’s healthy option, right? Not necessarily, if the latest research is anything to go by.
Studies carried out in the U.S found that the sugar and acid in fruit juice can attack teeth enamel, causing even more damage than some of the controversial home whitening treatments.
What’s more, the problem can often be made worse by brushing teeth immediately afterwards as teeth enamel is softened for up to an hour after drinking acidic juices, making it vulnerable to damage.
‘The acid in orange juice is so strong that the tooth is literally washed away,’ says the study leader YanFang Ren, and associate professor in the department of dentistry at the University of Rochester. ‘It’s potentially a very serious problem for those who drink fruit juice and fizzy drinks every day.’
There are several causes for teeth erosion, including acid reflux, when natural acids flow up the mouth and sometimes eroding the back teeth, and aggressive brushing.
However, acid in our diet is by far the biggest culprit.
‘We are definitely seeing more cases of dental erosion,’ says Dr George Druttman, a dental expert at Cap City Dental in the City of London.
‘We think we are doing the right thing by having ‘healthier’ drinks, but the acid in these drinks is in fact wearing away the enamel.
‘I see many professionals with quite pronounced damage to the enamel. Many are quite horrified to think that fruit juices (and that includes smoothies), which many think of as healthy, are actually damaging their teeth.’