Friday, April 3, 2009

Sports Drinks not so Healthy for Teeth

According to a new study, from NYU dental researchers, sports drinks that are widely consumed as healthy alternatives to soda may not be so healthy for your teeth.

The study shows that the citric acids in sports drinks weaken tooth enamel, leading to a condition known as erosive tooth wear. The more sports drinks you consume, the greater the risk of tooth erosion, and soft teeth.

Dr. Mark Wolff, Professor and Chairman of the Department of Cariology & Comprehensive Care at New York University College of Dentistry says this is the first study performed to measure the effect of sports drinks and dental health. It might be the citric acid in sports drinks responsible for tooth erosion.

The scientists used cow’s teeth to study the effect of the sports drinks on tooth enamel, cutting the cow’s teeth in half, then submerging one-half in water, and the other half in a sports drink. The tooth soaked in the sports drink showed a significant amount of enamel erosion, probably from the citric acid in the sports drink.

“To prevent tooth erosion, consume sports drinks in moderation, and wait at least 30minutes before brushing your teeth, to allow softened enamel to re-harden," says Dr. Wolff. Limit consumption of sports drinks to keep your teeth healthy, avoiding erosion of tooth enamel now associated with sports drinks.

Sports drinks may be healthier than soft drinks for your body, but not for the health of your teeth. Acid-neutralizing remineralizing toothpaste might protect from erosive tooth wear associated with sipping sports drinks, and can be discussed at the dentist's office.