The pH of beverages in the United States

J Am Dent Assoc. 2016 Apr;147(4):255-63. doi: 10.1016/j.adaj.2015.10.019. Epub 2015 Dec 2.


Background: Dental erosion is the chemical dissolution of tooth structure in the absence of bacteria when the environment is acidic (pH < 4.0). Research indicates that low pH is the primary determinant of a beverage's erosive potential. In addition, citrate chelation of calcium ions may contribute to erosion at higher pH. The authors of this study determined the erosive potential measured by the pH of commercially available beverages in the United States.

Methods: The authors purchased 379 beverages from stores in Birmingham, Alabama, and categorized them (for example, juices, sodas, flavored waters, teas, and energy drinks) and assessed their pH. They used a pH meter to measure the pH of each beverage in triplicate immediately after it was opened at a temperature of 25°C. The authors recorded the pH data as mean (standard deviation).

Results: Most (93%, 354 of 379) beverages had a pH of less than 4.0, and 7% (25 of 379) had a pH of 4.0 or more. Relative beverage erosivity zones based on studies of apatite solubility in acid indicated that 39% (149 of 379) of the beverages tested in this study were considered extremely erosive (pH < 3.0), 54% (205 of 379) were considered erosive (pH 3.0 to 3.99), and 7% (25 of 379) were considered minimally erosive (pH ≥ 4.0).

Conclusions: This comprehensive pH assessment of commercially available beverages in the United States found that most are potentially erosive to the dentition.

Practical implications: This study's findings provide dental clinicians and auxiliaries with information regarding the erosive potential of commercially available beverages. Specific dietary recommendations for the prevention of dental erosion may now be developed based on the patient's history of beverage consumption.

Keywords: Erosive potential; commercial beverages; dental erosion; pH.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Beverages / adverse effects
  • Beverages / analysis*
  • Carbonated Beverages / adverse effects
  • Carbonated Beverages / analysis
  • Energy Drinks / adverse effects
  • Energy Drinks / analysis
  • Fruit and Vegetable Juices / adverse effects
  • Fruit and Vegetable Juices / analysis
  • Humans
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Tea / adverse effects
  • Tea / chemistry
  • Tooth Erosion / epidemiology
  • Tooth Erosion / etiology
  • United States


  • Tea