London, May 21: Many fruit drinks contain a high level of acid that could decompose teeth enamel, a new study has revealed.
A warning was issued about popular fruit drinks and smoothies by the dentists after it emerged that some of it can be as acidic as vinegar.
Fruit drinks are commonly given by well-meaning parents to their children to ensure that they get their ‘five a day’.
While parents mean well giving their children seemingly healthy fruit drinks, the dentists warned that they can contain acid levels which are damaging to teeth.
The warning came after official figures revealed that dental problems were the third most common reason for child hospital admissions last year behind viral infections and disorders related to premature birth.
Innocent’s ‘This Water’ drink with limes and lemons had a pH level of 2.7 – more acidic than vinegar, at 2.9. This is at the upper end of the acidity scale in which 7 is considered neutral and 1 extremely high. ‘This Water’ said that their products were ‘not meant for children’, adding that ‘The recipe in question is made with fresh lemon and lime juice so it is going to have a natural acidity.’
The tooth enamel begins to be destroyed at level higher than 5.5 on the scale.
Other drinks tested included Tropicana orange juice, Copella apple juice and Innocent smoothies, all of which had acid levels ranging from 3.3 to 3.8. The most acidic among them was Coca-Cola, with a pH level of 2.5.
Kathy Harley, dean of the dental faculty at the Royal College of Surgeons that many parents are unaware that the combination of high acid and sugar can destroy young teeth, the Daily Mail reported.
Dentists have warned that it is better for children to eat fruit with their meals or to have cheese or some alkaline food to combat the effects of acidic drinks.
Dr Harley warned last year that 50 per cent of five-year-olds have signs of damage to their tooth enamel caused by excess acid in their diet.
It is not required for the manufacturers to publish the acid levels in drinks.
The government advice states that everyone should have five portions of fruits and vegetables a day, with one portion comprising 150ml of fruit juice.
Dr Harley said it would be better if children met the target by eating fruit with meals and juice to be a ‘once a week treat’ for them.
Dentists also advised to drink water after having juice to wash away some of the acid and said Children should be encouraged to drink water afterwards to wash away some of the acid, but not to brush their teeth until at least an hour afterwards, as teeth are weakened by exposure to acid.
Dentists said that rather than consuming fruit juices or fruit as snack, it is better if they were consumed at meal times or accompanied with something containing calcium, such as cheese, which neutralises acid.
In 2008 Innocent Drinks, now majority owned by Coca Cola, had an advertisement campaign in which its products were billed as ‘Simple, natural refreshment’ which was banned by the Advertising Standards Authority for failing to inform consumers about the sugar content of its juice drinks.(ANI)