Melbourne University's Oral Health Cooperative Research Centre released a briefing paper warning that many Australians were unaware that chemicals in artificially sweetened drinks cause tooth erosion.
Researchers found that drinks high in citric and phosphoric acids caused "measurable damage to dental enamel". The centre's director said the problem seemed to be worsening, with an estimated one-in-three children suffering from acid-caused tooth erosion.
Sugar damages teeth because it feeds bacteria in the mouth, which then produces acid that attacks the enamel. This tends to happen in places where bacteria gather, such as in the crevices of your molars.
Professor Reynolds said that, while fruit and fruit drinks do contain some of the same damaging compounds as soft drinks, "we just don't see the same level of destruction" as from fruit drinks. He said this could be because people who drink soft drinks tend to drink them frequently -- more frequently than those who eat fruit or drink fruit juice consume those things.