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Sports drinks potentially damaging to teeth:dentists

Sports drinks considered as harmful to enamel as soft drinks and fruit juice

Dental authorities are warning consumers of the hidden dangers of sports drinks to teeth, saying they are just as harmful as soft drinks or fruit juice, yet are not normally considered or treated in the same fashion.

Sports drinks that are consumed to regularly, that is to say as part of a fitness regime, can actually be responsible for tooth decay and erosion of the enamel due to the high levels of sugar and sodium contained within them. Other signs of damage include structural weakness, teeth discolouration and tooth sensitivity; although some dentists point out that there is still research to be done on the exact effect of sports drinks.

What is thought to be a major issue when it comes to sport drinks is that they are one of the preferred liquid options for athletes, who consume it when dehydrated when there is less saliva to protect the teeth, increasing the damaging effects of the sugar in the drink. There are concerns that repeat exposure could permanently damage the enamel and teeth, just as with soft drinks and fruit juices, with sport drinks apparently containing up to nine teaspoons of sugar in a 600ml bottle and around 280 milligrams of sodium.

However, dentists have been quick to point out that results remain unconfirmed and that sports drinks are a practical solution for athletes to quickly replace lost sodium and electrolytes in the body during exercise. They simply recommend rinsing the mouth with water after drinking sports drinks to prevent any damage.