Making soft drinks “soft”

By: Dr Keith Hengpoonthana

I was reading an interesting article on the Australian Dental Journal (2010; 55:275-279) titled “Effect of casein phosphopeptide-amorphous calcium phosphate added to acidic beverages on enamel erosion in vitro” – Manton DJ et al. a study done by the University of Melbourne, Victoria.

Casein Phosphopeptide Amorphous Calcium Phosphate, a mouthful to say, but known also in the shortend form “CPP-ACP” is the active ingredient in a few products such as Recaldent chewing gum or Tooth Mousse that have been shown clinically to promote remineralisation of enamel. The enamel is the hard outer layer of your teeth, being made of minerals it is prone to acid dissolution from consuming highly acidic foods (soft drinks or sports drinks) or foods high in sugar whereby the bacteria in your mouth convert sugar to acid. Tooth erosion occurs with excessive acid attacks and can lead to sensitivity or tooth decay.

It is reported that a high percentage of children and adolescents have evidence of moderate erosion, alot of which can be attributed to frequent intake of softdrinks which are carbonated (usually with carbonic acid) and other additives such as citric acid. Contrary to popular belief, the sugar free “diet” softdrinks can also damage your teeth not from the sugar itself but from the acidity itself.

This in vitro study was able to show that by adding CPP-ACP to the tested soft drinks they were able to reduce the observed erosivity on extracted teeth samples. The implication here is that there may be a means to reduce the damage that softdrinks can cause to your teeth. Though further studies are needed still, I think soft drink manufacturers should look in to this as a way of promoting a healthier product beneficial to the consumer. For the time being… go easy on the soft drinks 🙂