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Sports Drinks

April 30, 2009

Sports drinks are so acidic that they wear down tooth enamel – and brushing can worsen the problem.

Transcript

BOB HIRSHON (host):
How sports drinks weaken teeth. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Sipping sports drinks all day won’t turn you into a star athlete – but it might rot your teeth. This according to Mark Wolff of the New York University College of Dentistry. Although these drinks do contain sugars, which are known to damage teeth, Wolff says they’re not the main problem.

MARK WOLFF (New York University):
What’s interesting about these drinks is they skip the entire process of putting sugar and bacteria together to make acids, and they deliver acids to you.

HIRSHON:
Mainly citric acid, which creates a tangy flavor, but also weakens tooth enamel. Wolff’s team showed that cow teeth dunked in sports drinks for just an hour tended to soften up. What’s more, Wolff says brushing right away can actually cause more damage by scraping off the softened enamel. He says if you want an all-day beverage, stick to water. I’m Bob Hirshon for AAAS, the Science Society.