Background: The consumption of acidic foods and drinks is increasing in popularity. The purposes of the present study were to investigate the consumption patterns of acidic foods and drinks among several sport groups and to examine any relationships between consumption patterns and dental erosion.
Methods: A questionnaire of oral health habits, diet and dental health was developed. Thirty-two sports clubs (690 members) of the University of Melbourne participated in a survey. A total of 508 usable questionnaires were received (74.9 per cent response). Descriptive statistics were prepared and logistic regression was used to explore relationships between dental erosion (dependent variable) and the independent variables.
Results: Dental erosion was reported by 25.4 per cent of respondents, particularly among athletes of the Martial arts (affecting 37.4 per cent). The consumption of acidic foods and drinks was frequent among most athletes. No significant associations were identified between dental erosion and the frequency of drinking soft drinks or sports drinks. Statistically significant associations were found between dental erosion and age group (p=0.004), frequency of drinking juices (p=0.05), and tooth sensitivity (p=0.001).
Conclusion: Athletes may be placing themselves unintentionally at risk of dental erosion and dentists could counsel athletes to control and reduce the effect of potentially erosive foods and drinks.