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Dr. Edwards' Blog

Sports Drinks -- Great for Energy, Bad for Enamel - July 25, 2011

The St. Louis summer has set in with temperatures climbing into the triple-digit range.  It’s always important to stay hydrated, but especially now.  For some people, their favorite source of hydration is an energy or sports drink.  If you’re one of those people, you should know those drinks you chug to fend off dehydration during these hot summer days could be doing more hard than good – especially to your teeth.

According to a study in the journal Dentistry, energy drinks can be even worse for your teeth than the typical soft drink or cola!  For this study, researchers soaked teeth in energy drinks, fitness water and soft drinks for a period of 14 days.  The teeth soaked in the energy drinks fared far worse.  That’s because of their high acid levels that destroy tooth enamel, even more so than soft drinks can.  That breakdown in enamel makes it easier for cavities to form, leading to potentially even bigger problems down the road, such as the need for root canals or extractions.

In this study, energy drinks that caused the most enamel to dissolve included KMX sports drink, Snapple lemonade, Red Bull, Gatorade lemon-lime and Powerade Arctic Shatter.

A separate, yet similar study done at the University of Maryland Dental School revealed that the enamel damage caused by non-cola and sports beverages was three to 11 times greater than cola-based drinks, with energy drinks and bottled lemonades causing the most harm to dental enamel.

Another problem with sports and energy drinks involves the way people consume them.  Rather than drinking them all at once with a meal, they tend to sip them continuously, either on a hot day or during some form of exercise.  This continual drinking over a span of hours is much more apt to cause tooth damage.

One way to prevent damage caused to teeth when drinking sports or energy drinks is to chew sugar-free gum.  That will stimulate saliva flow and help neutralize the acids in your mouth.





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