According to a recent study (May 2012 General Dentistry) many people, a significant number of them adolescents, are drinking greater quantities of sports and energy drinks. This increased consumption is causing irreversible damage to their teeth caused by the acidic levels in the drinks that erode tooth enamel–the outside layer on teeth.
These adolescents hope to attain improved performance and higher energy levels. They also may believe that these products are healthier then sodas. The researchers tested 13 sports drinks and nine energy drinks by dunking human tooth enamel into the beverage for 15 minutes then into artificial saliva for two hours. They performed this process four times a day for five days.
Damage to the enamel was evident after only five days with all products. Energy drinks caused twice as much damage as sports drinks.
As many as 62 percent of adolescents consume one sports drink per day. The percentage of adolescents who imbibe in energy drinks is 30-50%. The damage cannot be reversed and those who indulge themselves may have tooth over-sensitivity and an increased likelihood of cavities and decay.
Teens and parents are encouraged to limit their intake of sports and energy drinks and rinse their mouths afterwards or chew sugarless gum. In addition the study recommends waiting an hour after consumption to brush teeth since this will spread the exposure to enamel.