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Energy and sports drinks attack enamel

Sports beverages and energy drinks appeal to people who maintain a healthy lifestyle. However, the same drinks that claim to recharge the body after a workout could cause more irreversible damage to teeth than soft drinks.

A study of the effects some of these beverages had on enamel, appearing in the January/February 2005 issue of General Dentistry, the Academy of General Dentistry's (AGD) clinical, peer-reviewed journal, found that over time, exposing dental enamel to bottled lemonades, energy drinks and sports drinks can do more harm to tooth enamel than soft drinks.

"This study revealed that the enamel damage caused by non-cola and sports beverages was three to 11 times greater than cola-based drinks, with energy drinks and bottled lemonades causing the most harm to dental enamel," says J. Anthony von Fraunhofer, FRSC, FADM, lead author, Professor of Biomaterials Science at the University of Maryland Dental School. "A previous study in the July/August issue of General Dentistry demonstrated that non-cola and canned iced teas can more aggressively harm dental enamel than cola."

Most soft drinks contain one or more food additives. These acids cause the tooth enamel to breakdown. Phosphoric and citric acid are the most common but malic and tartaric acids are sometimes present.

Drinking the beverages does not automatically mean a mouth full of cavities. There are ways to minimize the harmful effects, says Dr. von Fraunhofer.

"The major problem with any of these drinks is not chugging it down, it's sipping continuously over a long period," says Dr. von Fraunhofer. "Sitting and sipping on these drinks throughout the day can do terrible things to your teeth."

The study continuously exposed enamel from cavity-free molars and premolars to a variety of popular sports beverages, including energy drinks, fitness water and sports drinks, as well as non-cola beverages such as lemonade and ice tea for a period of 14 da
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Contact: Jennifer Starkey
jennifers@agd.org
312-440-4341
Academy of General Dentistry
21-Mar-2005


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