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Sports and Energy Drinks Can Cause Irreversible Damage to the Teeth


Common energy drinks

According to a new study in General Dentistry.

A recent study published in the May/June 2012 issue of General Dentistry, the peer-reviewed clinical journal of the Academy of General Dentistry, found that an alarming increase in the consumption of sports and energy drinks, especially among adolescents, is causing irreversible damage to teeth — specifically, the high acidity levels in the drinks erode tooth enamel, the glossy outer layer of the tooth.

“Young adults consume these drinks assuming that they will improve their sports performance and energy levels and that they are ‘better’ for them than soda,” says Poonam Jain, BDS, MS, MPH, lead author of the study. “Most of these patients are shocked to learn that these drinks are essentially bathing their teeth with acid.”

Remember sugar is metabolized by oral bacteria to produce what?

That is right, acid.

And, so these drinks have sugar and a lot of ACID.

The researchers found that damage to enamel was evident after only five days of exposure to sports or energy drinks, although energy drinks showed a significantly greater potential to damage teeth than sports drinks. In fact, the authors found that energy drinks caused twice as much damage to teeth as sports drinks.

With a reported 30 to 50 percent of U.S. teens consuming energy drinks, and as many as 62 percent consuming at least one sports drink per day, it is important to educate parents and young adults about the downside of these drinks. Damage caused to tooth enamel is irreversible, and without the protection of enamel, teeth become overly sensitive, prone to cavities, and more likely to decay.

You have to consume these drinks moderately, and rinse your mouth with water and/or chew some sugar-free gum to stimulate saliva flow. The increased saliva helps flush the acid away from the teeth.

Also, after consuming these drinks, wait an hour before brushing your teeth (you don;t want to smear the acid directly into the teeth) – but do brush them later.