Previous scientific research findings have helped to warn consumers that the pH (potential of hydrogen) levels in beverages such as soda could lead to tooth erosion, the breakdown of tooth structure caused by the effect of acid on the teeth that leads to decay. However, the pH level of soft drinks isn't the only factor that causes dental erosion. A beverage's "buffering capacity," or the ability to neutralize acid, plays a significant role in the cause of dental erosion. Popular energy drinks also cause tooth erosion.
figure 1 Effects of soft drinks ....teethAcid Versus Enamel:-It is well known by the medical profession that disease loves acid,2 and this is particularly true of dental caries.Dental caries, by definition, is tooth demineralization caused by acidic-byproducts of the bacterial fermentation of dietary sugars. The resulting caries lesion involves gradual demineralization of subsurface enamel and dentin, leaving the outer 20- to 50-micrometer-thick surface preserved more or less intact.3 With the consumption of acidic, carbohydrate-rich soft drinks,teenagers are at high risk for caries development,which can be quite aggressive (Figure 1). Eight- to 17-year-old children are at greatest risk. Normally, as the young, immature enamel is bathed by salivary ions and the intercrystallinespaces fill, it becomes progressively harder and more mature. Mature enamel appears as a very dense, less penetrable, glassy hard structure that is fairly resistant to acid attack.However, enamel maturation takes time. The newly erupted enamel in teenagers is immature, and the crystalline structure is porous, chalky, and easily penetrated and dissolved by acids.4 Even in the absence of carbohydrates,soft drinks can be destructive to teeth. These acidic, or lowpH, beverages can contribute to the demineralization of dental hard tissues.Dental erosion is the loss of tooth structure by a chemical process not involving bacteria.5 Initially,enamel will demineralize and dissolve, with the surface appearing dull. Acids can also enter the pits of enamel and cause subsurface structure loss.6 The solubility of hydroxyapatite increases logarithmic-ally with decreasing pH.Erosion may be caused by either intrinsic or extrinsic sources. The intrinsic causes have been documented to include cases of anorexia nervosa and bulimia, as well as any gastrointestinal disorder that involves increased outputs of gastric acids. Extrinsic sources include acidic medicines such as vitamin C and aspirin, aerosol acid chemicals in the work environment, or the frequent consumption of acid food stuffs or drinks.Simple pH monitors have shown that all types of soft drinks are very acidic,especially the colas, which can have a pH of 2.4 or less . In order to neutralize a glass of cola, it takes 32glasses of high pH alkaline water.2 Exposure of enamel to Coca-Cola® for one hour leads to significant reduction in ,and scanning electron microscopic evaluation has revealed surface irregularities.
As you may imagine, although the erosion and caries processes are as different as their histological appearance,the two conditions occurringcon currently could be deleterious to dental hard tissues. As dental professsionals,we need to educate our patients about the consequences of soft drink consumption and provide suggestions to minimize the risk.We also need to be active in educating school administrators on the negative impact soft drinks have on students’teeth.The place where children spend agre at portion of their day and where they are influenced greatly by their surroundingsis their school. Schools are therefore the most suitable environment to provide health information tochildren in order to achieve the goal ofhealth promotion programs. It isquite a contradiction to teach principlesof good nutrition in health education,then adjourn the class to thereality that the children have highaccessibility to soft drinks right outsidethe classrooms