November 26, 2022

How Sports Drinks Affect your Teeth

Recent research published in a variety of medical journals including General Dentistry has pointed to the negative effects of consuming sports drinks on dental health. While they provide athletes with necessary electrolytes and fluids to rehydrate, those types of drinks are linked directly to tooth damage. Unfortunately, fitness drinks can cause irreparable damage to dental enamel and ultimately compromise the overall health of your teeth and gums. In fact, because of high levels of acid and sugars in sports drinks, the damage from these beverages can be as high as 3 to 11 times worse than damage caused by cola-based drinks.

Scientists recently attempted to determine the effects of drinking fitness drink on tooth damage by immersing teeth in those types of beverages as well as water. In their results, these researchers found that the citric acid level in sports drinks caused significant corrosion in the teeth when compared to water. Furthermore, multiple studies have gone on to replicate these results leading to the International Association for Dental Research in Miami to take a hard stance against these type of drinks as a casual beverage option.

In another similar study, researchers at the New York University College of Dentistry placed halved teeth in either a sports drink or water bath and compared the effects after approximately 90 minutes. Results clearly showed that the citric acid in sports drinks was strongly linked to the erosion of tooth enamel. Indeed, within 90 minutes dozens of small holes became apparent in the teeth immersed in the sports drink while there was no damage to teeth immersed in water.

In yet another example of the link between sports drinks and tooth damage was revealed in a study by researchers at the University of Maryland Dental School. After continuously exposing cavity-free molars to a variety of popular beverages including energy drinks, fitness water, and non-cola beverages like lemonade and iced tea, researchers found a significant link between many of these beverages and damage to dental enamel. Indeed, the worst offenders were lemonade and energy drinks.

The conclusions of these studies are important for influencing our beverage choices, especially considering the fact that brushing your teeth immediately after drinking fitness water may actually make the problem worse than better. Acid in those drinks soften your teeth making them vulnerable to the abrasive effects of brushing. Certainly, we need to be careful when we go to the fridge for a drink. The obvious choice is water as no ill effects have been reported with regards to tooth damage when consuming water. However, there is a clear and almost inarguable conclusion that fitness drinks will invariably lead to tooth damage. As such, athletes and the average person alike are advised to consume sports drinks sparingly and only for the purposes of rehydration when engaging in rigorous activity.