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High fluoride and low pH level have been detected in popular flavoured beverages in Malaysia

Rahim, Zubaidah HA and Bakri, Marina M and Zakir, HM and Ahmed, IA and Zulkifli, NA (2014): High fluoride and low pH level have been detected in popular flavoured beverages in Malaysia. Published in: Pakistan Journal of Medical Sciences , Vol. 30, No. 2 (2014)

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Objective: In children, excessive ingestion of fluoride from different sources including bottled drinking water and flavoured beverages or soft drinks can lead to the development of dental fluorosis. In addition, the pH level of beverages is important. Low pH can cause dental erosion. In this study we explore the fluoride content and pH level of certain popular beverages available in Malaysian supermarkets and hawkers’ stalls. Methods: Bottled drinking water and selected popular flavoured packet drinks were purchased from a supermarket and the corresponding flavoured hawkers’ drinks, from a hawker’s stall in Kuala Lumpur. Fluoride and pH of the beverages were determined using digital fluoride meter and digital pH meter respectively. Results: It was found that fluoride content and pH level vary among the beverages. The mean fluoride content in both packet and hawkers’ drinks (7.64±1.88 mg/L, 7.51±1.60 mg/L, respectively) was approximately 7 times higher than the bottled drinking water (1.05±0.35 mg/L). Among the beverages, the tea packet drink was found to contain the highest amount of fluoride (13.02±0.23 mg/L). The mean pH of bottled-drinking water was near neutral (6.96±0.17), but acidic for both supermarket (4.78.00±0.49) and hawkers’ drinks (5.73±0.24). The lychee packet drink had the lowest pH level (2.97±0.03). Conclusions: Due to the wide variation of the fluoride content and pH level of the drinks tested in this study, it is recommended that steps should be taken to control the fluoride concentration and pH level in beverages if dental fluorosis and erosion are to be prevented.

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