Friday, April 3, 2009

Sports drinks and your teeth, they go together like long post titles and your mobile feed reader when viewed on your tiny blackberry screen.

According to a new study publicized on WebMD today, sports drinks may be bad for your teeth. Quoting directly from the article:

“The popular energy drinks sipped by many athletes to increase stamina contain levels of acid that can cause tooth erosion, hypersensitivity, and staining, according to the findings of New York University dental researchers.”
Wait, they increase your stamina? Oh right... in sports. Good, because for a moment there I was going to start drinking sports drinks before bed on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and every 2nd Saturday. That’s the new spring schedule. (Hey, when you have 2 kids you schedule it or you take cold showers.)

The article goes on to say:
“The beverages also can cause excessive tooth wear and may damage underlying bone-like material, causing teeth to soften and weaken, the researchers say.”
Wow. That’s some heavy science talk right there. The bone-like material? It doesn’t have an actual name?
“The drinks may also possibly trigger conditions leading to severe tooth damage and loss.”
May also possibly? Talk about an all-time authoritative assertion. It may possibly be the least conviction I’ve read in a medical article. (Full disclosure: I read very few medical articles.) Also notice that it doesn’t say that it may possibly lead to tooth damage. No, it says that it may possibly trigger conditions and that those conditions can lead to tooth damage and loss. STOP THE PRESSES! Sports drinks may possibly lead to a condition that can, in some instances, lead to tooth damage? Why hasn’t the FDA banned these toxic tonics?

Craig Stevens of the American Beverage Association tries to explain and defend sports drinks with the following comments regarding the study:
“The testing procedures they used are outside the realm of what happens in real life. Beverages pass right through the mouth, and these beverages have a purpose, and are proven to enhance physical performance. To use them like this is simply providing unhelpful information to consumers.”
Yeah right, Craig. Next you’re going to tell me that the researchers unfairly cut the teeth in half and submerged them in the sports drinks for unrealistic periods of time? Oh. Really? That’s exactly what they did?
“In the study, cows’ teeth were cut in half. Half of the specimens were immersed in a sports drink, the other half in water, and then the halves were compared.”
Well I for one am shocked to learn that cutting your teeth in half and submerging them in an artificially colored, sugary drink could stain and erode them, but this should serve as a warning to those of you who follow this practice. Half-Fast is once again taking the lead to bring you critical new information in the field of running. Now that’s information that would be worth paying for, right? Hey, wait. Why are you leaving?


  1. Crap! So much for experiencing the joy of cutting my teeth in half and gargling with coke before bed each night just to see what happens. I guess drilling random holes in my teeth is out too, huh?

    Half-Fast: Taking the joy out of life...

  2. I love the added fun of this post that when I look at the feed in Google reader, the context-based ads shows grinning people and an ad for paste-on porcelain fake teeth. lol. Pass the Gatorade.

  3. Monday, Wednesday, Friday and every second Saturday? Liar.

  4. the great war between dentists and sports drink produces escalates..

  5. That's old news. They've been saying for years that sports drinks are just as bad for your teeth as soda.

  6. Great piece. Now, I no longer put a a bunch of Gatorade in my mouth and let it sit there for an hour, I will swallow it immediately.

  7. That's like how they said Diet Coke gave you cancer because they fed lab rats the stuff through a constant IV for 2 weeks or something.

  8. Another article written about this study highlighted the fact that white wine will stain your teeth. So cross that off your pre-bed social ritual as well :(

  9. Wait! I caught the tail end of "Food Detectives" Sunday afternoon and they had done a test of what would stain teeth and how badly.

    The unnaturally "red" sports drink did turn the tooth a nasty color and was pretty high on their scale of nastiness.

    So - easy solution. Drink the clear ones! I hate anything "red" flavored anyway. I won't eat the red Lifesavers, red KoolAid, red Dum-Dums, or red jellybeans. Now I have a justifiable excuse for not eating "red" flavor. Thanks, scientists!

  10. "“In the study, cows’ teeth were cut in half. Half of the specimens were immersed in a sports drink, the other half in water, and then the halves were compared.”"

    Uh...yeah, so the take home message here is...ah...don't gargle with sports drinks?

  11. Poor cows! Think of THE COWS!!!!

    :( So basically, Gatorade kills baby cows. Jump to conclusions much?


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