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Are sports drinks bad for the teeth?


After a workout, many of us like to rehydrate with a sports drink. The advertisements claim it replaces lost electrolytes and quenches thirst, but did you realize that sports drinks can actually cause cavities? That was the evidence according to a recent study by the International Association for Dental Research in Miami. The results show softening of the dentin (the dental tissue that determines the size and shape of the teeth and lies directly beneath the enamel layer) and also damage to the tooth enamel (the protective layer on the outside of the teeth). The study immersed cow teeth in either water or a sports drink for 75 to 90 minutes, then measured the damage. It was concluded that sports drinks can damage the teeth even more than soda because of the acidic components, the sugars, the dyes, and the additives. The high acid content can weaken the enamel and cause bacteria to sneak into cracks and crevices in the teeth, and sugar exacerbates that situation. The scientists conducting the study wanted to stress that the most important factor is exposure, if you are drinking the beverage all day it has a longer time to break down your teeth versus if you just have the beverage occasionally on a limited basis. To decrease exposure you can also use a straw or drink plenty of water afterwards.