If you consume sports drinks, it may be best to wait thirty minutes before brushing your teeth. According to a recent study, citric acid in sports drinks weaken tooth enamel – brushing too soon after sipping a sports drink may increase the risk of tooth erosion.
The study, from NYU dental researchers found that consuming popular sports drinks softens the teeth, especially if you consume too many. Dr. Mark Wolff, Professor and Chairman of the Department of Cariology & Comprehensive Care at New York University College of Dentistry tells us this is the first study linking citric acid in sports drinks to erosion of the teeth.
Teeth from cows were used for the study, which resemble human teeth. The dentists cut the cow’s teeth in half and submerged one-half in water, and the other half in a sports drink. The tooth subjected to the sports drink showed a significant amount of erosion and softening, probably from the citric acid in the sports drink.
Several top-selling s drinks were used to prove that the sports drinks cause teeth to erode. The scientists submerged five teeth 75 to 90 minutes in order to approximate the amount of time human teeth are exposed to citric acid while sipping on sports drinks.
“To prevent tooth erosion, consume sports drinks in moderation, and wait at least 30 minutes before brushing your teeth, to allow softened enamel to re-harden,” says Dr. Wolff. He also suggests limiting sports drinks to avoid destruction of tooth enamel that leads to erosion and soft teeth. Your dentist can tell you if acid-neutralizing remineralizing toothpaste might protect your teeth from erosive tooth wear that can happen silently while sipping on your favorite sports drink.