Are Sports and Energy Drinks Eroding Your Smile? Unveiling the Acidic Truth

If you’re someone who swears by sports and energy drinks to boost your performance and stamina, you might want to think twice. Researchers have found that these drinks can damage your body, and the harm starts within moments of consumption.

A study conducted at Southern Illinois University discovered that the high acidity levels in sports and energy drinks wear down the enamel of our teeth. Tooth enamel is the glossy protective layer that insulates our teeth. Once tooth enamel is damaged, it leads to increased sensitivity, makes teeth prone to cavities, and more vulnerable to decay. Unfortunately, this damage is irreversible.

Sports and Energy Drinks: The Growing Craze

Despite these risks, people are continuously increasing their consumption of sports and energy drinks, mainly because they assume these beverages are better for their overall health compared to soft drinks.

According to Poonam Jain, a researcher on this study, young adults are chain-drinking these beverages with the hope that they’ll enhance their sports performance and energy levels. But, unfortunately, they’re essentially bathing their teeth in acid.

Study Findings: Acidity Levels and Enamel Damage

The study looked at 13 sports drinks and 9 energy drinks, measuring the acidity levels in each. The researchers found that the acidity levels varied across brands and even flavors within the same brand.

To test the effect of acid on teeth, they immersed human tooth enamel in each of the drinks for 15 minutes. Then, they soaked the samples in artificial saliva for 2 hours. They repeated this process four times a day for five days, keeping the samples in fresh artificial saliva when not in use.

What they found was that even after just five days, the sports and energy drinks had caused significant damage to the enamel. Energy drinks were found to be worse than sports drinks, causing almost twice as much damage. However, both posed serious risks to our teeth’s enamel.

Protecting Your Teeth: Chewing Gum, Rinsing, and Brushing Timing

Although avoiding sports and energy drinks altogether is the ideal solution, there are some measures you can take to minimize the harm caused by these drinks.

  1. Chew gum or rinse your mouth: After consuming a sports or energy drink, chew gum or rinse your mouth with water. This will help to reduce the acidic content in your mouth and minimize the impact on your teeth.

  2. Wait to brush: Don’t brush your teeth immediately after consuming one of these drinks. Instead, wait at least one hour before brushing your teeth. This will prevent you from spreading acid onto your tooth surfaces, leading to further erosion of your enamel.

  3. Consider alternatives: If you’re in need of a pick-me-up or a boost of energy, it’s worth considering healthier alternatives like water, coconut water or herbal tea, which can provide hydration and energy without the damaging effects of these acidic drinks.

The Bottom Line

The study conducted by Southern Illinois University highlights the importance of being aware of the ingredients and acidity levels in the beverages we consume. While you may think that sports and energy drinks are a better alternative to soda, you might be surprised to find that the damage they can cause to your teeth is significant and irreversible.

Therefore, consider healthier alternatives or follow the recommended measures to protect your teeth while enjoying your favorite sports or energy drinks, and be sure to encourage others to do the same. The road to better health starts with informed choices.