Do Sports drinks affect teeth?

People, who drink sports drinks on a regular basis to replenish minerals and energy lost during workouts, may risk causing damage to their teeth. This has been suggested by the British Journal of Sports medicine.

A study was conducted by a British dentist who analyzed the acidity of eight sports drinks after seeing a 23 year old runner who had severe erosion of his front teeth. The patient regularly quenched his thirst with sports drinks.

Of the eight drinks included in the study, all of them were below the normal “safe” pH of 5.5, this means that the drinks are too acidic. Tooth erosion is promoted by any level below the pH of 5.5.

Research was carried out on 3 popular sports drinks by measuring the pH levels using litmus paper. All three drinks had a pH level of 3, which indicates a high level of acidity.

However, it should be mentioned that because sports drinks have low pH levels, does not mean they should be avoided altogether. They have a high pH level as they are full of minerals that replenish the body’s supply lost during exercise.

It is recommended to follow these guidelines for consuming sports drinks:

  • Drink in moderation and when possible, drink water for lighter workouts where less bodily fluids are lost.
  • Dilute with water
  • Try to drink sports drinks when they are cold as warmer temperatures speed erosion.
  • It is best to drink through a straw so that there is less contact between the drink and teeth. Try not to hold the drink in your mouth or swish it around.
  • Do not brush your teeth immediately after consuming a sports drink, the acid in the drink causes the enamel to soften and so brushing straight away will wear away this protective layer.