Study: Sports drink consumption can cause tooth erosion

Apr 03, 2009
Left: A tooth that was immersed in a sports drink shows signs of erosion caused by acid. A tooth that was immersed only in water (at right) shows no signs of erosion. Credit: Dr. Mark Wolff, Professor and Chairman of the Department of Cariology & Comprehensive Care at New York University College of Dentistry

While sipping on sports drinks all day may provide an energy boost, this popular practice is also exposing people to levels of acid that can cause tooth erosion and hypersensitivity, NYU dental researchers have found.

In a recent study, the researchers found that prolonged of sports drinks may be linked to a condition known as erosive tooth wear, in which acids eat away the tooth's smooth hard enamel coating and trickle into the bonelike material underneath, causing the tooth to soften and weaken. The condition affects one in 15 Americans and can result in severe tooth damage and even tooth loss if left untreated.

"This is the first time that the citric in sports drinks has been linked to erosive tooth wear," said Dr. Mark Wolff, Professor and Chairman of the Department of Cariology & Comprehensive Care at New York University College of Dentistry, who led the study. The findings were presented today at the annual meeting of the International Association for Dental Research in Miami.

Dr. Wolff's research team cut in half cow , which were used for the study because of their close resemblance to human teeth. They immersed one half of the specimens in a sports drink, the other half in water, then compared the two halves and discovered that the one exposed to the sports drink displayed a significant amount of erosion and softening.

"Five teeth were immersed in each drink for 75 to 90 minutes to simulate the effects of sipping on sports drinks over the course of the day," Dr. Wolff said. The researchers evaluated the effects of a range of top-selling sports drinks on the cow teeth.

According to Dr. Wolff, brushing teeth immediately after consuming a sports drink can compound the problem of tooth erosion, because softened enamel is very susceptible to the abrasive properties of toothpaste.

"To prevent tooth erosion, consume sports drinks in moderation, and wait at least 30 minutes before brushing your teeth, to allow softened enamel to re-harden," Dr. Wolff advised. "If you frequently consume sports drinks, ask your dentist if you should use an acid-neutralizing remineralizing toothpaste to help re-harden soft enamel."

Source: New York University (news : web)

Explore further: Extreme weather kills 2,000 in U.S. each year: CDC

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Root beer may be 'safest' soft drink for teeth

Mar 20, 2007

Exposing teeth to soft drinks, even for a short period of time, causes dental erosion—and prolonged exposure can lead to significant enamel loss. Root beer products, however, are non-carbonated and do not contain the acids ...

Drink brewed tea to avoid tooth erosion

Nov 25, 2008

Today, the average size soft drink is 20 ounces and contains 17 teaspoons of sugar. More startling is that some citric acids found in fruit drinks are more erosive than hydrochloric or sulfuric acid—which is also known ...

Study: White wine can make tooth stains darker

Apr 01, 2009

It has long been known that red wine causes teeth to stain. But white wine? A recent study by NYU dental researchers found that drinking white wine can also increase the potential for teeth to take on dark stains.

Sports drinks face junk food label

Sep 26, 2007

Public health advocates are lobbying for limits on the availability of sports drinks such as Gatorade and Powerade in high school vending machines.

Recommended for you

User comments : 0