Sports Drinks & Your Teeth
By: Wendy Ray
What type of drink do you think is bad for your teeth? We've always heard it's cola, but a new study suggests cola may be the least of your worries. There are other drinks out there that have more of a corrosive effect on tooth enamel like lemonade, energy drinks, sports drinks, fitness water, and commercial iced teas.
A recent study published in the Journal of the Academy of General Dentistry finds those drinks are more corrosive to tooth enamel than cola. Colas have one or more acids. The study claims sports drinks or energy drinks have the same acids as colas, plus other organic acids which may be naturally occurring or added to drinks like Gatorade and Red Bull to give them their tangy flavor.
Dentist Jeffrey Patton says it's not all that bad if you like these drinks though. "I really don't see it as a big issue. I really don't. I don't think the corrosive nature of these drinks is that high," he says. Dr. Patton says acid is an issue if it's in your mouth for a long period of time.
The study soaked tooth enamel in sports drinks for 14 days, that's not too realistic. Patton says acid can dissolve enamel, but it's a very slow process. He warns to be more concerned about another tooth culprit that could be in your drinks. "Acid is not as big an issue as people think, it's more of the sugar content. What people don't understand is it's not so much the amount of sugar intake, it's the frequency," Dr. Patton says. Travis Strobach knows what's bad for his teeth. "Anything with sugar," he says.
It's a good idea to rinse your mouth with water or chew sugarless gum after drinking something. If you're worried about consuming corrosive drinks have a root beer. Root beer is the least corrosive soda.