SAN DIEGO/June 27/UPI -- Fruit, yogurt and soft or citric drinks may lead to devastating and permanent damage to teeth, according to a U.S. study.

Foods with a low pH value, such as fruit juices, pickles, fresh fruit, yogurt, honey and raisins damage tooth enamel over time by dissolving the mineral structure of teeth, thinning them, according to study leader David Bartlett.

"Early diagnosis and prevention of the effects of tooth erosion are fundamental to keeping teeth healthy for life," Bartlett said in a statement.

"Sipping or holding acidic drinks in the mouth before swallowing increases the risk of erosion on dental enamel."

To prevent tooth erosion, wait at least 20 minutes before brushing the teeth after consuming an acidic food or beverage, advises Bartlett.

Bartlett adds that the eating of acidic foods should be done within five minutes, rather than spread throughout the day, to minimize the amount of time the acid is on the teeth.

Bartlett is scheduled to lead a discussion at the Academy of General Dentistry's 55th annual meeting in San Diego.

From the July 2, 2007, Prepared Foods e-Flash