`An apple a day may send you to a dentist`

Updated: Nov 09, 2011, 09:01 AM IST

London: It`s said that an apple a day keeps the doctor away, but researchers now say eating the fruit may damage your teeth and force you to visit a dentist.

Researchers at King`s College London Dental Institute found that eating apples regularly can be up to four times more damaging to teeth than carbonated drinks.

Wine and lager also increase the risk of dental damage but pickled onions and grapefruit, which are consumed less frequently, do not, they found.

"It is not only about what we eat, but how we eat it," Dr David Bartlett, head of prosthodontics at the institute who led the study, was quoted as saying by the Daily Mail.

"Doctors quite rightly say that eating apples is good, but if you eat them slowly the high acidity levels can damage your teeth," he said.

"The drinks most often associated with dietary erosion, particularly cola, showed no increased risk. The results emphasise that dietary advice should be targeted at strong acids rather than some of the commonly consumed soft drinks."

In the new study, the researchers looked for links between tooth wear at several sites in the mouth, and diet in more than 1,000 men and women aged 18 to 30.

They looked for damage to the 2mm surface enamel of their teeth, and at the dentine, the main supporting structure of the tooth beneath the enamel, and compared it with diet.

People who ate apples were 3.7 times more likely to have dentine damage, while carbonated drink consumers had no additional risk.

Fruit juice increased the likelihood of damage to the enamel around the top of the teeth near the gums fourfold, while lager, which is acidic, raised the chances of dentine damage threefold.