Yes, we know how great those sports drinks taste after a hard workout or simply to help quench your thirst especially in those hot summer months, but did you ever realize that prolonged use of some of these sports drinks might weaken your natural tooth structure.
What could cause this you may ask, well, it’s the citric acid found in many of the famous sports drinks that we all enjoy, especially after a workout or sports event, and yes, maybe even the ones you have with your lunch or dinner.
We all see the athletes on television who consume these sports drinks to help re-energize and re-hydrate them. Well, many of these re-energizers contain citric acid, which recent studies at the New York University College of Dentistry have found can cause excessive tooth enamel wear. Dentists call it erosion of the enamel.
What exactly is erosion, well it is a gradual loss of the normally hard surface of the tooth due to chemical, not bacterial processes.
Because of the possible excessive affects of the citric acid on the enamel surface where their exists a chance that the enamel could become a bit softer, it is advised that one not brush immediately after drinking the sports drink (s) that contain citric acid. It is best to allow the natural minerals in saliva to remineralize the enamel-which should take approximately 30 minutes after finishing the drink.
Then one should brush as normal.
Mark Wolff, DDS, professor and chairman of the department of cardiology and comprehensive care at New York University College of Dentistry suggests the following:
Drink sports drinks in moderation.
Wait at least 30 minutes before brushing your teeth to allow softened enamel to reharden.
If you drink a lot of sports drinks, ask your dentist if you should use acid-neutralizing remineralizing toothpaste to help reharden soft enamel.
Dr. Wolff’s coinvestigators on the study were Mr. Michael Rice, a student at the University of the Pacific Dugoni School of Dentistry in San Francisco; Mr. Glenn Canares, a student at the NYU College of Dentistry; and Dr. Mitchell S. Pines, a Clinical Professor of Biomaterials & Biomimetics at the NYU College of Dentistry.
As always and in fairness to the great sports drinks on the market, further studies are needed to conclusively determine if this occurs with all of us, including myself, who highly enjoy such beverages.