Sports/Energy Drinks Wage War on Enamel

You’ve just finished a long workout in the July heat. You’re thirsty and crave electrolytes. Although a sports drink is an easy option, you might want to consider drinking water and eating a banana if you’re at all concerned about your oral health. Let’s examine another scenario. You’ve been at your office computer for six hours straight and need a pick-me-up. Based on recent studies, you should skip the energy drink for the sake of your teeth. Today our Lake Forest dentist Dr. James Fondriest explains why sports and energy drinks are terrible for your oral health.

Acid-Washing Your Teeth

A recent study published in General Dentistry suggests that sports drinks cause irreversible damage to tooth enamel, which is particularly troubling given the fact that sports drinks are so popular with young people. “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,” said Dr. Poonam Jain, the lead author of the study.  “Most of these patients are shocked to learn that these drinks are essentially bathing their teeth with acid.”

Researchers tested 13 sports drinks with varying levels of acidity, using methods that mimicked a typical consumption pattern. Damage to tooth enamel was evident after five days. Energy drinks nearly doubled the damage.

An estimated 50 percent of US teenagers consume energy drinks and as many as 62 percent of teens consume at least one energy drink per day.

Enamel Erosion

Sports and energy drinks promote tooth decay because of the high levels of acids present in the beverages. These acids work like infantry soldiers in a battle. They break down the protective outer layer of the tooth, exposing the softer layer called dentin. With the defenses weakened, bacteria can ravage the tooth.

Mitigating the Damage

One way to keep sports and energy drinks from damaging your teeth is avoiding them. However, if you do consume them, chew sugar-free gum to increase saliva production and wash your mouth out with water. Restoring the pH balance in the mouth will help to minimize enamel erosion.

Schedule an Appointment

Whether you drink energy drinks or not, it’s always important to have your teeth examined and cleaned every six months. To schedule a consultation, call our Lake Forest dental office at (847) 234-0517. We serve the Chicago, Illinois area, including the North Shore suburbs of Winnetka, Highland Park, Northbrook, Northfield, Glenview, Lincolnshire, Deerfield, Lake Bluff, Libertyville, Vernon Hills, Gurnee, Grayslake, and Barrington.


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