The consumption of sports drinks and energy drinks among Americans is higher than ever before. While you may be helping replenish lost hydration when gulping down a sports drink, most people don’t realize they could actually be harming their pearly whites by consuming these refreshing beverages. In addition to regular dental cleanings, there are a few other things you can do to help protect the enamel on your teeth.
In the May/June issue of General Dentistry, an article was published that raised concern over the continual consumption of sports and energy drinks. The article focuses mainly on the irreversible damage to teeth that’s primarily caused by drinking sports drinks. Marketing would tell us that sports drinks are good for your body, helping to replace lost electrolytes and minerals from sweating, but what they don’t tell you is that the high acidity levels in these types of drinks actually erodes tooth enamel. If you have noticed a less than shiny luster on your teeth, more of a dull haze, sports drinks could be the culprit!
The article noted a study where researchers tested the acidity levels in 13 sports drinks and 9 energy drinks. After immersing samples of human tooth enamel in both beverages for 15 minutes, they then put the samples in artificial saliva for two hours. This cycle was repeated four times a day for five days. Researchers discovered that in just 5 days, both sports drinks and energy drinks caused considerable damage to the tooth enamel, with sports drinks causing nearly twice the amount of damage as energy drinks. It’s important to realize that this test was not conducted on actual humans, but if the samples of human tooth enamel is any indicator of what’s really happening in our mouths, people should take note.
Damage to tooth enamel is irreversible. People with compromised tooth enamel often times have problems with decay, cavities and tooth sensitivity. A way to limit the risk of tooth enamel erosion from drinking sports or energy drinks is to rinse your mouth with water or to brush your teeth after drinking. If you have more questions about the damaging effects of sports drinks and energy drinks, talk to your dentist at your next dental appointment.