It’s old hat by now that sports drinks like Gatorade and Powerade are a bit sugary (but it’s also understood by athletes that those carbs help boost performance during exercise), and that energy drinks like Red Bull and ROCKSTAR are worse offenders, sometimes packing upwards of 30g of sugar per 8-ounce serving. OK, there’s sugar in your mouth, so don’t forget to brush your teeth at some point. Got it.
But what if someone told you that people who quaff sports and energy drinks are “essentially bathing their teeth with acid”? That’s what the lead author of a new study in General Dentistry says in this release from the Academy of General Dentistry. That’s right, you’re stripping the enamel from your teeth, and you can never get it back.
Researchers simulated the drinking habits of American teens by submerging human tooth enamel in each of 13 drinks for 15 minutes, then transferred the samples to artificial saliva for a couple of hours. They repeated it four times a day for five days, and stored the enamel samples in fresh spit at off times. At the end of five days, every drink had damaged the enamel, with energy drinks causing twice as much damage as sports drinks.
So what can you do, short of giving up the drinks? Try rinsing out your mouth with water or chewing sugar-free gum immediately afterwards, both of which stimulate the production of saliva, which decreases acid levels in the mouth to normal. Then, after an hour or so, brush your teeth.