NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Sugar-sweetened acidic beverages, especially soft drinks, may be a major cause of tooth erosion, especially in obese people, a new study suggests.

The study was conducted by researchers at King's College London and published the findings in the journal Clinical Oral Investigations.

The researchers pointed out that the erosion of teeth is ranked third among cases of teeth after decay and gum disease, and consume food and acidic drink the main reason for this.

To reveal the relationship between soft drinks and tooth erosion, the team analyzed a representative sample of 3,541 patients from the US National Health and Nutrition Survey.

The team monitored the body mass index and the level of tooth erosion, and the amount of sugar-sweetened acidic drinks the participants ate.

The researchers found that the consumption of sugary soft drinks was the main cause of tooth enamel erosion, especially in obese patients.

Leader of the research team, Sawiris O'Toole, said the acidic nature of some beverages - such as soft drinks and citrus fruit juices - eroded teeth.

"This is an important message for obese patients, who consume calories through sugar-sweetened acid drinks, that these drinks can cause damage to their body and teeth," he said.

According to the study, previous research has revealed that the erosion of teeth affects up to 30% of adults in Europe, and softening of tooth enamel as a result of food acids.

Dental erosion occurs when the outer layer of teeth (enamel) slowly breaks down. This can lead to changes in the shape of the teeth and become sensitive to eating foods or drinking cold drinks.