Q & A with Damon R. Johnson, DDS | Do Sports Drinks Ruin Teeth?

dental health risks of sugar-free soda pop

The Academy of General Dentistry and the American Beverage Association disagree over whether sports and energy drinks actually damage teeth. Here, Edmond, Oklahoma dentist Dr. Damon R. Johnson, DDS weighs in.

Q: Are sports drinks damaging to my teeth?

Dr. Damon R. Johnson: A drink that contains sugar – in any form – can add to a person’s risk of cavities. Energy and sports drinks often have higher levels of sugar than sodas. And, these types of drinks also have high concentrations of acid in them, which can eat away at the teeth’s enamel.

Q: So how quickly are teeth affected?

Dr. Damon R. Johnson: A study in General Dentistry, a journal published by the Academy of General Dentistry, pointed out that enamel may actually suffer irreversible damage after less than a week of frequent consumption.

Q: How did the American Beverage Association respond?

Dr. Damon R. Johnson: The group, which represents and helps market non-alcoholic beverage producers in the United States, claimed the study was flawed. They assert that laboratory conditions weren’t a reflection of reality.

Q: And what’s your thought on the subject?

Dr. Damon R. Johnson, DDS: I think it’s a situation of all things in moderation. Of course people who consume any type of sugary beverage routinely will be more at risk of cavities than those who drink water exclusively. The study found that well over half of all US teens reported drinking at least one energy drink per day, which is too many in my opinion. These drinks often contain other ingredients that may be harmful to a teen’s still-developing body.

Q: What’s your best advice to someone who’s going to drink these occasionally anyway?

Dr. Damon R. Johnson, DDS: Follow the drink with water or chew a piece of sugar-free gum. Both of these help stimulate saliva production that will wash away residual sugars and acids. Brush teeth after about an hour, if possible, but not before, otherwise the acids can spread. And definitely follow a proper oral care routine.

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