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Sports Drinks Harmful to Teeth?

by Diane Lofshult on Jun 01, 2005

A recent study by British researchers found that regular use of high-performance sports drinks can corrode teeth enamel and cause extensive dental damage. Reporting in the January 2005 issue of Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, scientists from the University of Birmingham’s School of Dentistry said that quaffing certain sports drinks can cause up to 30 times more enamel loss than drinking a comparable amount of plain water.

The study recreated intensive exercise conditions during which participants drank either water or two different types of carbohydrate-electrolyte beverages. Dental erosion was measured as tissue loss from the participants’ tooth enamel.

Because the culprit responsible for the erosion was thought to be the high acidity in certain brands of sports drinks, the study authors offered athletes several suggestions to minimize dental damage:

  • When consuming sports drinks, keep contact time in the mouth to a minimum; don’t hold the liquid before swallowing.
  • Alternate sports drinks with water.
  • Choose a product that is less acidic and has a higher pH level.

The researchers also called for manufacturers to develop beverage formulas that would be less harmful to teeth. In a press release issued by the university, the authors offered a related warning: “It’s also important to remember that similar erosive problems can occur when drinking fruit juices or fizzy drinks.”

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About the Author

Diane Lofshult

Diane Lofshult IDEA Author/Presenter

Diane Lofshult is an award-winning freelance author who specializes in nutrition and weight management topics. She is the founder of In Other Words, an editorial consulting firm based in Solana Beach, California. Reach her at