According to new research, many popular drinks, including sports drinks, and even your morning glass of orange juice, are so acidic that they can weaken your teeth in just a few mouthfuls. In fact, some are so powerful they may literally be washing away your teeth while you’re drinking them!
Dr. Yan-Fang Ben and his research team, based at the University of Rochester’s Medical Center in New York, performed microscopic analyses of the surface of teeth exposed to ordinary orange juice. While it has long been known that fruit juice can affect tooth enamel (the hard surface of the tooth), it was commonly believed that serious damage only occurs over a long period of time. They were very surprised therefore, to discover an incredible 84% reduction in enamel strength almost immediately. Dr. Ben commented that the effect ‘is so strong, the tooth is literally washed away’.
In another study, Professor Mark Wolff at New York University analysed the effects of the acids in sports drinks, which have become hugely popular in recent years, on cow’s teeth, which closely resemble those of a human. Half the teeth were dipped into the sports drink to simulate the effect of sipping a bottle of one over the course of a day, while the rest were dipped into water instead. This experiment was repeated with several major brands of sports drink, but the effect was the same for them all: At the annual meeting of the International Association for Dental Research, they reported a massive amount of erosion and softening in the teeth after “drinking” just ONE bottle. Those dipped in water suffered no ill effects. This is the first time sports drinks have been definitively linked to erosive tooth wear.
When asked to comment on the results, one major manufacturer of sports drinks dismissed the results, and claimed there is “no relationship between the consumption of sports drinks and erosion”. However, another equally-large manufacturer of a rival sports drink said their product was only intended to keep people hydrated and refuelled during exercise and in order to “avoid any dental issues” it should not be “sipped or swilled around the mouth, but swallowed quickly”.
Dentists advise that acidic fruit juices and sports drinks should be consumed using straws, or at the same time as eating food, to minimise the damage. Drinking water afterwards will help neutralise the acid too but, perhaps surprisingly, brushing your teeth right after is NOT recommended. Because of the softened-state of the enamel, they will be vulnerable to the abrasive chemicals used in ordinary toothpaste, as well as being damaged by the mechanical action of the brushing itself. (Most people brush too hard on their teeth anyway, even when they aren’t softened by acidic drinks.)drinks, oral hygiene, Health Medical Pharma, literally, sports drink, New York University, drinking water, tooth, washing, abrasive chemicals