Sports drinks may leave you sprinting towards tooth decay

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Drinking sports drinks exposes you to acid that can cause tooth erosion and hypersensitivity, a New York University (NYU) study has found. 

Erosive tooth wear, whereby acids corrode the enamel and penetrate the bonelike material underneath, may be the result of prolonged sports drink consumption. This condition causes the tooth to become soft and weak, and can result in severe damage and, if untreated, tooth loss. 

The study compared cow teeth, some immersed in a range of best-selling sports drinks and some in water for 75 to 90 minutes. The former were found to be significantly eroded and softened. 

Professor and Chairman of the Department of Cariology and Comprehensive Care at NYU, Professor Mark Wolff warned that you should wait at least 30 minutes after drinking a sports drink before brushing your teeth, as the abrasive properties of toothpaste will further damage the softened enamel. 

Professor Wolff said: “This is the first time that the citric acid in sports drinks has been linked to erosive tooth wear. To prevent tooth erosion, consume sports drinks in moderation. If you frequently consume sports drinks, ask your dentist if you should use an acid-neutralizing remineralizing toothpaste to help re-harden soft enamel.”

The findings of the NYU study were presented at the annual meeting of the International Association for Dental Research in Miami.

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