Drinks Tied to Tooth Trouble

Pass on the Sports Beverages

When replacing lost fluids during or after a workout, consider how beverage choices can affect the health of teeth. A recent study published in General Dentistry, the journal of the Academy of General Dentistry, found that increased consumption of sports and energy drinks is causing irreversible damage to teeth, especially among adolescents.

A reported 30 to 50 percent of U.S. teens regularly imbibe energy drinks, and as many as 62 percent down at least one sports drink a day. “Young adults consume these drinks assuming that they will improve their sports performance and energy levels and that they are ‘better’ than soda,” says Associate Professor Poonam Jain, lead author of the study, who serves as director of community and preventive dentistry at the Southern Illinois University School of Dental Medicine. “Most of these patients are shocked to learn that the drinks are essentially bathing their teeth with acid.”

In testing the effect of acidity levels on samples of human tooth enamel immersed in 13 sports and nine energy beverages, researchers found that damage to enamel was evident after only five days of exposure. Moreover, energy drinks were twice as harmful as sports drinks. “These drinks erode or thin out the enamel of the teeth, leaving them more susceptible to decay and sensitivity,” says Jain.

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