Are sports and energy drinks really "monsters" to your teeth?

Are sports and energy drinks really "monsters" to your teeth?

While they may sound refreshing, especially after playing sport or exercising, recent studies suggest energy and sports drinks can damage tooth enamel, increasing the risk of cavities.

Researchers analysed the fluoride content and pH levels of 13 sports and nine energy drinks by soaking tooth enamel samples in those drinks. The samples were soaked for 15 minutes in each drink and then soaked for two hours in artificial saliva four times a day for five days.

As much as sports drinks are harmful to your teeth, researchers found that exposure to energy drinks such as Rockstar, Monster®, and Red Bull® resulted in twice as much enamel loss as exposure to sports drinks such as Powerade®, Gatorade®, and Propel® (3.1 percent to 1.5 percent).

There are some health benefits to consuming orange juice, fruit juices, sports drinks and flavoured waters – which can contain valuable ingredients such as vitamin C and other antioxidants –  as they can also replenish nutrients lost during a sporting event and lower the chance of heart disease and cancer. If not consumed carefully however, these beverages can harm your teeth. They are full of sugar, which converts to acid and wears away at your teeth, causing cavities, sensitivity and eventually tooth loss.

Even one drink a day is potentially harmful but if you are absolutely unable to give up that sports or energy drink habit, minimise their use and rinse with water afterwards. Do not brush immediately after drinking them as softened enamel due to acid is easier to damage, even when brushing. The best thing to do is to wait an hour, then brush to remove sugar that lingers on your teeth and gums.

This Australian Society of Orthodontists' blog post was based on content supplied by South East Orthodontics and Ocean Orthodontics.