A young woman dressed in sportswear, is sweating and drinking a sports drink, which can cause tooth erosion.

Prime Suspects in Tooth Erosion

A recent study by the American Dental Association has found that the increasing consumption of acidic, nonalcoholic, and nondairy beverages appears to be causing a rise in tooth erosion. A list of 379 popular top-brand drinks, tested by the ADA, showed that 93% of flavored waters, sports drinks, fruit drinks, fruit juices, energy drinks and teas had acidic pH levels below 4.0 on an acidity/alkalinity scale. “Extremely erosive” pH levels are considered to be below 3.0, while “erosive” pH levels are 3.0-3.99. Find how these flavored drinks are causing tooth erosion.

How Tooth Erosion Affects Our Teeth

The acids — mostly citric acid, phosphoric and malic acid — attack and wear away the tooth’s protective enamel and dentin. Sometimes the acids seep deeper into the pulp surrounding the nerve, often leaving painful sensitive spots on the tooth’s surface. If you would like a more in-depth explanation, read our “Why Do I Have Sensitive Teeth?” article.

Children and adults of all ages are at high risk. The same is true of dehydrated athletes. They might reach for what they may think is a “healthy” sports or fruit drink with vitamins and minerals, however, their sweaty workout lowers the volume of buffering saliva in their mouths. This leave teeth vulnerable to damage. Seniors who may have dry mouth from certain medications are also at a very high risk for enamel damage from these drinks.

So which waters are the most damaging our teeth?

According to the American Dental Association’s study, the following waters are classified as “extremely erosive” (pH levels below 3.0), and include following sports drinks: Activ Water, Gatorade and Powerade.

Drinks with pH levels of 3.0-3.99 are still considered “erosive.” That includes varieties of Activ Water, Dasani water, Propel, San Pellegrino, Skinny Water, Sobe Life Water and Vitamin Water. So be aware whenever you are considering to drink that so called “healthy” drink after your work out.

If you have been frequently drinking sports or fruit drinks, speak to your dentist about how to best protect your teeth. A thorough evaluation by your dental professional can determine the proper assessment of any damage. This will help you prevent or even recover the damage that was done.


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