A research team from the Eastman Institute for Oral Health of the University of Rochester Medical Centre used a new focus-variation vertical scanning microscope to compare the effects of acid on tooth enamel with the effects of 6% hydrogen peroxide, the common ingredient in over-the-counter teeth whitening agents.
The study found that the acid from fruit juice changes the hardness and enamel of teeth significantly more than whitening agents.
"The acid is so strong that the tooth is literally washed away,’"said Yan Fang Ren, who led the research. "The orange juice decreased enamel hardness by 84%."
Juices and sodas have long been known to have high acidic content, which can affect enamel hardness and cause tooth erosion.
Weakened enamel accelerates degeneration of the tooth and increases the risk of tooth decay. Whitening has also been shown to affect the hardness of teeth, but this is the first study to compare the two.
"Most soft drinks, including sodas and fruit juices, are acidic in nature," Yan said.
"Our studies demonstrated that orange juice, as an example, can potentially cause significant erosion of teeth."
He added that drinking sodas and juices daily could heighten the risk of tooth erosion.
The study also found that the longer teeth are in contact with the acid, the more severe the erosion will be.
"People who sip their drinks slowly over 20 minutes are more likely to have tooth erosion than those who finish a drink quickly," the report stated. – AFP-Relaxnews