The purpose of this investigation was to determine to what extent the in vitro exposure of healthy teeth to various commonly consumed carbonated soft drinks may precipitate dental erosion. Forty-two healthy, extracted, previously unerupted human molars were weighed prior to, during, and after suspension in various sugared and diet or zero-calorie carbonated beverages for 20 days; the specimens were stored at room temperature while being stirred at 275 rpm. The percentage decrease in tooth weight from before to after exposure represented the weight loss due to enamel erosion; values in the experimental groups varied from 3.22% to 44.52% after 20 days’ exposure. Data were subjected to analysis of variance and post hoc Scheffe testing at a level of α = 0.05. Nonsugared drinks (diet and zero-calorie) as a whole were more erosive than sugared beverages. A significant positive correlation was found between the amount of titratable acid and percentage of tooth erosion, while a significant negative correlation was revealed between the beverage pH and percentage of tooth erosion. No significant correlations were found between calcium or phosphate ion concentrations and the amount of erosion. It appears that enamel erosion is dependent on not only the beverage flow rate, pH, and amount of titratable acid, but also whether the soft drink is of the diet or zero-calorie variety, which reflects the type of artificial sweetener present.
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