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Popular drinks that devastate tooth enamel

May 09, 2012

Teens and young adults regularly consuming sports and energy drinks are causing irreparable harm to their teeth, a new study claims.

Sports and energy drinks contain high acidity levels that erode tooth enamel, and because young people’s teeth are porous and their teeth are not fully formed, their tooth enamel is particularly susceptible to permanent damage.

Without the protection of enamel, teeth become overly sensitive and are more likely to decay and develop cavities.

In the study published in the May/June issue of General Dentistry, researchers analyzed acidity levels in 13 sports drinks and nine energy drinks. Acidity levels were gauged by immersing samples of human tooth enamel in each beverage for 15 minutes, followed by a two-hour immersion in artificial saliva. Researchers repeated the cycle four times daily for five days in order to simulate the teeth exposure of teens and young adults who drink one of the beverages every few hours.

While acidity levels varied between brands and flavors of the same brand, damage to the tooth enamel was evident after just five days. Researchers also reported that energy drinks caused twice the damage as sports drinks.

Study author Poonam Jain said that most of the study participants were shocked to learn that based on the reviewed drinks, participants were basically soaking their teeth with acid.

Participants were advised to reduce their consumption of sports and energy drinks and to chew sugar-free gum or rinse their mouth after consuming the drinks. Participants were also encouraged to wait at least one hour before brushing their teeth after consuming the studied drinks; otherwise they would spread the acid and corrosion onto their other teeth when brushing.

According to the dentistry academy, an estimated 30 percent to 50 percent of U.S. teenagers use the energy drinks and as many as 62 percent consume at least one sports drink per day.

The American Beverage Association (ABA) disagreed with the study and said it “in no way mirrors reality” because the study used slices of tooth enamel from extracted molars and soaked them for extended periods in petri dishes.

Sources:  HealthDay, Academy of General Dentistry

Copyright 2012, Bloom Insurance Agency, LLC

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