Letter: Dispatches from the cola wars

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The Independent Online
Sir: Rhys Williams follows in the long tradition of disbelieving scholars - usually children - in trying the effect of a cola on a copper coin ('Cola taste-buds tell the difference', 19 April). Professor Elderton (Letters, 21 April) referred to a no less spectacular finding of rather graver concern, namely the effect that such a drink has on teeth at any age.

Shaw et al (British Society of Dental Research, Sheffield, 13 April 1994) have shown a striking relationship between the use of carbonated drinks and the loss of tooth tissue in children. The most severe amounts of this erosive loss - which closely resembles the effect of abrasive chewed between the teeth - was seen in children drinking an average of 13.9 such drinks per week.

Before your readership dismisses this as yet another health scare which 'will never happen to me', may I suggest that they try dividing 13.9 by seven and then asking themselves or their children how many such drinks they really have in a day.

Yours faithfully,


Consultant Senior Lecturer

(Paediatric Dentistry)

Department of Child

Dental Health

University of Bristol