Sipping acidic fruit teas can wear away teeth

Sipping acidic drinks such as fruit teas and flavoured water can wear away teeth and damage the enamel.

A study done by The King’s College London found that drinking acidic drinks between meals increased the risk of tooth erosion form acid.

The research, in the British Dental Journal, looked at the diets of 300 people with severe erosive tooth wear.

Fruit squashes, cordials, fruit teas, diet drinks, sugared drinks and flavoured water were all found to be acidic and the main offenders, and constantly sipping these drinks increased the risk of tooth erosion.

Dr Saorirse O’Toole, the lead study author, from King’s College London Dental Institute, said: ‘’If you drink things for long periods of time, greater than five minutes, or if you nibble on fruit over a few minutes rather than eating them as a whole fruit – these are things that can really damage your teeth.

‘’If you’re going to have an apple as a snack at lunchtime, then try not to have anything acidic later on in the evening.

‘’If you’re going to have a glass of wine in the evening, then don’t have your fruit tea in the morning.

‘’Just balance things in your diet.’’

The researchers found that people who drank fruit teas or water with a slice of lemon twice a day between meals were 11 times more likely to have moderate or severe tooth erosion, but this figure was halved when the drinks were taken with meals.

Sugar-free soft drinks were also as erosive and sugar-sweetened ones and vinegars and pickled products could also lead to tooth erosion.

So, which drinks area acidic and which drinks are not?


  • Alcohol
  • Fruit Teas
  • Flavoured Water
  • Squashes
  • Diet Drinks
  • Sweetened Drinks


  • Water
  • Tea
  • Coffee
  • Milk
  • Sparkling Water

Russ Ladwa, who chairs the British Dental Association’s health and science committee, said of acidic drinks: ‘’Having them with meals helps to minimise the damage because chewing food increased the production of saliva, which is alkaline and acts as a buffer to dilute acidic foods and drinks.‘’We promote the chilling of drinks, consuming them in one go – don’t sip over long periods – and limiting soft drinks to meal times.’’Mr Ladwa added that consuming water, nutritious drinks such as milk and having neutralising food such as cheese after acidic food or drink was also a good idea, as well as using a straw to avoid the acid in the drinks making contact with the teeth.

Tooth erosion – the facts

  • It is progressive loss of the hard substance of a tooth by chemical processes that do not involve bacterial action
  • The acidity of the food or drinks is critical rather than the sugar content (bacteria, along with sugar, cause tooth decay not erosion)
  • Diet, lifestyle choices, the environment and in some cases medication can increase the risk
  • Using Fluoride Toothpaste or rinses and modifying your diet can reduce the risk of erosion