Sports drinks and energy drinks are all the rage these days. Media and advertising flood the airwaves with positive marketing spins on the benefits and advantages of consuming these beverages. Most consumers believe these drinks are a better alternative to soda, and use the drinks to help replace lost nutrients or give energy during workouts or while playing sports. These popular drinks are being consumed by adults and adolescents, sometimes on a daily basis. In a study published in the May/June 2012 issue of General Dentistry, there were notable reports of irreversible damage to teeth caused by the consumption of sports and energy drinks. High acidity levels found in sports drinks and energy drinks cause erosion of tooth enamel.
The erosion of tooth enamel is a leading cause of tooth decay and tooth sensitivity. Tooth decay can cause a myriad of problems, greatly increasing the opportunity for cavities to develop. The study in General Dentistry shared evidence that enamel damage was evident after only five days of sports and or energy drink consumption. Energy drinks were significantly more damaging to teeth than sports drinks; however both types of beverages caused enamel problems.
A reported 30% to 50% of teens consume energy drinks on a regular basis, with a staggering 62% of teens consuming a minimum of one sports drink each day. Parents and adolescents alike need to be aware of the damaging effects these drinks can cause to their teeth and dental health. The report recommends limiting the intake of sports and energy drinks going forward. It is important for consumers to rinse their teeth with water if consuming sports or energy drinks. So, should you brush your teeth right after drinking a sports or energy drink? According to Jennifer Bone, DDS, MAGD and spokeswoman to the Academy of General Dentistry, in an effort to prevent the spread of acid on the surface of the teeth, consumers should wait at least an hour to brush their teeth after drinking these beverages.