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Energy vs. Sports Drinks and Your Teeth

Energy and sports drinks can damage tooth enamel, boosting the risk of cavities according to a new study.

Recent studies suggest that energy and sports drinks can erode or thin the enamel of the teeth, leaving them more susceptible to decay and sensitivity. In a study published in the peer-reviewed clinical journal of the Academy of General Dentistry,13 sports drinks and 9 energy drinks were tested for acidity. Six drinks were tested for their effects on tooth enamel. Both sports and energy drinks were found to cause damage. However, energy drink tests had the more startling results.

Energy and sports drinks are considerably more popular among teens and young adults. Young peopleconsume these beverages, believing that energy drinks will improve their sports performances and increase their energy levels. Many believe energy drinks are 'better' for them than soft drinks.According to the research, up to half of U.S. teens and young adults consume energy drinks, and more than half drink at least one sports drink each day.

During the study, the acidity levels of all 22 drinks were tested. Researchers found the acidity levels in each energy drink varied among brands and flavors.

Gatorade Blue had the highest acidity among the sports drinks tested in the study. MDX had the lowest acidity of the sports drinks tested in this study.

Energy drinks with the highest acidity:

• Red Bull Sugarfree

• Monster Assault

• 5-hour Energy

• Von Dutch

• Rockstar

The researchers immersed samples of human tooth enamel in each drink for 15 minutes then immersed the samples in artificial saliva for two hours, to test the effect of the acidity levels. They repeated this cycle four times a day for five days, storing the samples in artificial saliva when not immersed in the drink liquid.

After five days, researchers found significant damage to the enamel being tested. During the evaluation, they quickly realized energy drinks caused twice as much damage to teeth as sports drinks, mainly due to the acidity levels. What some people may not realize is that damaged tooth enamel cannot be corrected. Without the protection of enamel, teeth can become highly sensitive, prone to cavities and more likely to decay over time.

The American Beverage Association issued the following statement regarding the study: "This study was not conducted on humans and in no way mirrors reality."

Most patients are stunned to learn that these drinks are essentially more harmful than soft drinks. Thankfully, cosmetic dentistry has never been so innovative. Today's veneers are more durable, offering a similar feel to your teeth and matching the natural shade. Whether you want to whiten teeth, correct a crooked or tipped tooth or if you need a smile makeover, Dr. Matthew, DDS, MICOI at South Bay Smiles, can help you attain that smile you desire.

If you have questions about food or beverage consumption and the effects on your teeth, or if you have signs of damaged tooth enamel, we encourage you to contact South Bay Smiles at (310) 670-0659.