Dental Damage

Posted: May 7, 2012 by jerkmag in CRISP -- health
Tags: , ,

You’ve just finished a pretty intense workout and you’re looking for something refreshing to drink – what do you reach for? More often than not, it’s probably a sports drink; you know, to replenish those lost electrolytes that Gatorade commercials are always telling you about.  But while your body may be thanking you for taking a swig of G2, your teeth may not be quite as happy.

According to a recent study in the May/June 2012 issue of General Dentistry, the consumption of sports and energy drinks can cause irreparable damage to one’s teeth. In fact, the lead author of the study claims that drinking sports drinks is comparable to bathing one’s teeth with acid. Sounds tasty, huh?

The study, which took place over five days, examined the acidity levels of 13 sports drinks and nine energy drinks. In doing so, the researchers dipped human tooth enamel samples in the drinks for 15 minutes, and then into artificial saliva for two hours. This process was repeated four times a day over the course of the five-day study.

Damage to the teeth could be seen after just five days of the study, showing that, while sports drinks did a good amount of damage, energy drinks harmed tooth enamel much more. And what happens when tooth enamel has been compromised? Teeth become overly sensitive, cavity-prone, and more likely to decay.

The acidic damage to teeth after the consumption of sports and energy drinks can only be neutralized by saliva. So, rinsing your mouth with water or chewing sugar-free gum after downing a Redbull will increase saliva flow, ultimately stopping the drinks from doing any more damage to your teeth. But if you’re looking for a quick pick-me-up or a post-workout guzzle and want to steer clear of tooth damage, just grab some water. Not only will it rehydrate your body, but it can also act as a stimulant when it’s ice cold.

—Amber Brenza

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