Sipping a soft drink is much more harmful for your teeth than gulping it

March 12, 2014 by Tomas Van Dijk, Delft University of Technology
Just drink it as fast as you can. Credit: Wikimedia

When you are in a bar enjoying a soft drink, don't talk with friends, but drink as fast as you can. This may not be the best thing for your social life, but for your teeth it certainly is. This is one of the things Olga Ilie of the faculty of Applied Sciences discovered. Next month she will defend her thesis 'Numerical studies of dental plaque and caries formation'.

By tossing your drink down the hatch you will limit the time interval in which your teeth are exposed to a low pH and thereby limit tooth enamel demineralisation. Logic as this may seem, good models describing all the processes that lead to formation – and that could also explain the differences between social drinking and gulping - were lacking.

"Studies describing different aspects of caries formation have been around for about twenty years, but our models take on a much more holistic approach", says Ilie, who elaborated on a numerical study performed almost ten years ago by her promoters Dr. Cristian Picioreanu and Prof. Mark van Loosdrecht.

When consuming sweets you are feeding the bacteria from the on your teeth. These microorganisms convert glucose into organic acids, chiefly lactic acid which is produced when there is an abundance of glucose inside the mouth. The acidic pH creates favourable conditions for demineralisation.

But this is just the simple explanation. Ilie: "The new study integrates state of the art knowledge on biofilm processes (such as mass transfer, microbial composition, microbial conversions and substrate availability) with tooth demineralisation and remineralisation kinetics using faster and more rigorous numerical methods."

Ilie hopes that her mathematical models can help surmount problems that have been haunting dental researchers for a long time. Studying caries formation in real life is complicated because of the long time span it takes for carious lesions to develop. The conditions present in the mouth - acid attacks during eating and drinking (resulting in demineralisation) interposed with fasting periods (with the potential of remineralisation) - are difficult to imitate and analyse experimentally.

Explore further: Think before you drink: Erosion of tooth enamel from soda pop is permanent

Related Stories

Think before you drink: Erosion of tooth enamel from soda pop is permanent

August 7, 2013
(Medical Xpress)—You may be saving calories by drinking diet soda, but when it comes to enamel erosion of your teeth, it's no better than regular soda.

Excessive soda can mimic illicit drug use effects on teeth

May 13, 2013
(HealthDay)—Manifestation of dental erosion caused by illicit drug use or excessive soda consumption needs to be distinguished from dental caries, according to case studies published in the March/April issue of General ...

Study reveals how enamel protects children's teeth

June 4, 2013
A new study has revealed that children's teeth are protected from damage during chewing by variation in enamel thickness along the tooth row.

Recommended for you

Cavity prevention approach effectively reduces tooth decay

January 22, 2018
A scientifically based approach that includes a tooth-decay risk assessment, aggressive preventive measures and conservative restorations can dramatically reduce decay in community dental practices, according to a study by ...

Painless dental lasers can render teeth cavity-resistant

November 21, 2017
Almost as soon as lasers were invented in the 1960s, curious dentists wondered if these powerful forms of light could be used on teeth, though those early lasers were much too crude for any useful dental work.

Nanodiamonds show promise for aiding recovery from root canal

October 23, 2017
People who undergo root canals may soon have a tiny but powerful ally that could prevent infection after treatment.

Research shows aspirin could repair tooth decay

September 8, 2017
Researchers at Queen's University Belfast have discovered that aspirin could reverse the effects of tooth decay resulting in a reduction in the need for fillings. Currently about 7 million fillings are provided by the NHS ...

New dental imaging method uses squid ink to fish for gum disease

September 7, 2017
Squid ink might be a great ingredient to make black pasta, but it could also one day make getting checked for gum disease at the dentist less tedious and even painless. By combining squid ink with light and ultrasound, a ...

A new dental restoration composite proves more durable than the conventional material

August 21, 2017
Fewer trips to the dentist may be in your future, and you have mussels to thank.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.