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Sports Drinks: Satisfy your Thirst while Damaging your Teeth

The next time you reach for that thirst-quenching sports drink, you may want to think again.

A recent New York University College of Dentistry study published in the June 2009 edition of the Academy of General Dentistry finds that highly acidic sports drinks can eat away at a tooth’s hard enamel coating. The results of the study are grim for consumers of sports drinks. Scientists found that the bonelike material underneath the enamel becomes soft and weak, therefore more at risk for tooth decay.

The NYU study involved placing teeth from several cows into two groups. The first sample was placed into a popular sports drink while the second sample was placed into plain tap water. The teeth were exposed to the liquids for a period of 90 minutes to simulate the average person’s continual sipping throughout a given day. Scientists discovered significant amounts of erosion and softening of the enamel in the teeth that were exposed to the sports drinks while the teeth that were exposed to water showed no changes to their enamel.

What’s even worse is that scientists found that brushing immediately after drinking a sports drink can compound the problems of tooth erosion because the softened enamel can be damaged by the abrasive particles found in toothpaste.

So the next time you need to quench your thirst, play it safe and reach instead for a bottle of water. Your teeth will thank you.