What a rotten shame

Why many of Britain’s most popular drinks are the cause of severe tooth decay

It’s something we’ve spoken about on a fairly regular basis, but at last there has been a scientific study that proves once and for all that many of the nation’s favourite drinks can be a devastating cause of severe tooth decay.

The tests were conducted at the Oral Health Foundation where scientists took seven healthy human teeth (a combination of incisors and molars). They then photographed them and placed each one into a sterile test-tube.  Each test-tube was then filled with a different drink and the teeth were monitored over a fourteen-day period.

At the end of this time the scientists analysed the impact that the drink had had on the tooth’s enamel and although enamel is the strongest substance in the human body, the effect of the experiment and the severe tooth decay witnessed was frightening.

Here then are the results of the seven tests that also analysed the sugar and acid content of each drink and also published a decay potential rating.

Sports Drink

Very popular among sports enthusiasts and gym-users. After 14-days the enamel had turned chalky white indicating that it had begun to decalcify – the first signs of severe tooth decay.

Sugar content: 5tsp per 250ml

Acidity level: High

Decay potential: 7/10


Energy Drink

A drink of choice for many young people.  After 14-days the enamel showed clear signs of demineralisation and had started to flake away.

Sugar content: 6tsp per 250ml

Acidity level: High

Decay potential: 8/10



Strong marketing has pushed the popularity of cider to new heights as more and more people now drink it on a regular basis. After 14-days the tooth had become severely decalcified as the acid had stripped away much of the enamel.

Sugar content: 7tsp per 250ml

Acidity level: High

Decay potential: 9/10



Now many people, especially women, drink prosecco over long periods and on frequent occasions. The effects of the sugar and acids were very noticeable after only 48-hours and after 14-days the surface of the tooth was crumbling away.

Sugar content: 1tsp per 250ml

Acidity level: High

Decay potential: 6/10



In our opinion this is one of the most dentally dangerous dinks there is. Unfortunately it is a big favourite with youngsters. After 48-hours the enamel on the tooth was already discoloured, while after 14-days the tooth was completely cracked in half.

Sugar content: 6 1/2 tsp per 250ml

Acidity level: Very high

Decay potential: 9/10

The other two drinks involved were milk and natural water, which were included as a control test. Neither of these drinks indicated any risk to the teeth.

We’re not saying you should never touch these drinks, but if you wish to avoid the risk of severe tooth decay please only drink them in moderation and never over long periods. If you can use a straw to bypass the teeth then that will be of benefit.

If you are concerned about severe tooth decay or would like further dental hygiene advice then please make an appointment to visit one of our dental team. You call us on 0161 951 7295 or alternatively you can contact us by using the online form on our Appointments page.


Severe Tooth Decay

Book Your Free Consultation

We offer a FREE CONSULTATION for all new clients - no strings attached.

Ask About our Finance

We understand that sometimes our clients need a little help to spread the cost of treatments.