According to a new study presented at the International Association for Dental Research in Miami, some of the popular sports drinks contain high levels of acid that can lead to tooth erosion, hypersensitivity, and staining. Researchers from the New York University report that the drink may also cause excessive tooth wear, even affecting the underlying bone-like material, softening and weakening the teeth. The results show that the drinks may also lead to severe tooth damage and loss.
According to Mark Wolff, DDS, professor and chairman of the department of cardiology and comprehensive care at New York University College of Dentistry, this is the first time that citric acid is associated with tooth erosion. He warns that people who drink sports drinks should not immediately brush the teeth, as the softened enamel is highly susceptible to abrasive properties of the toothpaste.
Wolf recommends that to prevent tooth erosion:
- Have sports drinks in moderation
- Brush your teeth after 30 minutes of having the sports drink to give time for the softened enamel to harden
- Discuss with your dentist whether you should have acid-neutralizing, remineralizing toothpaste to harden the enamel
In this study, a cow’s tooth was cut in half. One half of the tooth were immersed in sports drink, while the other half was immersed in normal water. The halves were then compared with each other. The results showed that most of the sports drink caused softening of the enamel while some of them also caused significant staining of the teeth. Cow’s teeth were chosen for the study because of its resemblance to human teeth.
According to Craig Stevens, spokesman for the American Beverage Association, such studies do not present the actual picture of how sports drink is consumed and the testing methods used in the study do not imitate what happens in real life. According to him, beverages pass right through the mouth and are supposed to improve the physical performance of the person. Using the beverages like this may provide misleading information to the consumers. He adds that information like sports drink cause tooth erosion is overly simplistic and oral health is determined by other factors like how long the food is kept in the mouth.