Dental experts placed teeth in sports drinks and in water to compare the effects and found the citric acid in the sports drinks caused corrosion and could result in severe tooth damage if left untreated.
The results of the experiment were presented at the annual meeting of the International Association for Dental Research in Miami.
Researchers at the New York University College of Dentistry cut calves’ teeth in half and immersed each half in either a sports drink or water and compared the results after 75 to 90 minutes.
“This is the first time that the citric acid in sports drinks has been linked to erosive tooth wear,” said Dr Mark Wolff, Professor and Chairman of the Department of Cariology and Comprehensive Care at the college, who led the study.
The erosion on the half placed in the sports drink was clearly visible because dozens of tiny holes had appeared while there was no damage on the half which was immersed in water.
Brushing teeth immediately after the drinks would compound the problem, Dr Wolff said, because the acid in the drink softens tooth enamel leaving it vulnerable to the the abrasive brushing with toothpaste.
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