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.