While soft drink consumption has already been associated with a number of chronic diseases in the past, a recent study published in the journal Clinical Oral Investigations has further shed light upon a possible common risk factor between obesity and tooth wear among adults. The researchers of the study have found that increased consumption of sugar-sweetened acidic drinks may be a leading cause of the erosion of tooth enamel and dentine in obese patients.
"It is the acidic nature of some drinks such as carbonated drinks and acidic fruit juices that leads to tooth wear," said study lead author Saoirse O'Toole from King's College London.
Previous research from King's has found that tooth wear affects up to 30 per cent of European adults. It is the premature wearing of teeth due to the softening of the dental enamel from dietary or gastric acids, combined with wear and tear.
The researchers studied a representative sample of 3,541 participants in the United States, based on data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2003-2004. The exposure and outcome measurements in the analysis were the patient's BMI and the level of tooth wear. As part of the study, the consumption of sugar-sweetened acidic drinks was recorded through two non-consecutive 24-hour recall interviews, wherein patients shared the details of diet intake across these two days.
Other risk factors for obese patients like increased likelihood of gastric reflux disease (heartburn) were controlled in this study.
After cavities and gum disease, tooth wear is ranked as the third most important dental condition, according to the study.
"This is an important message for obese patients who are consuming calories through acidic sugar sweetened drinks. These drinks may be doing damage to their body and their teeth," O'Toole said.