When you drink energy or sports drinks, do not brush your teeth immediately after drinking, say New York University (NYU) dental researchers. The acid from these drinks softens tooth enamel and if you brush your teeth immediately, you will brush your enamel away.

Enamel protects the nerves in your teeth. Enamel will never grow back once it is worn away, so these drinks, if not consumed correctly, will affect your tooth health forever. The  American Dental Association says that tooth enamel is “A very easy part of your tooth to damage if the precautions are not taken to protect it.” People who drink these energy drinks or sports drinks can actually damage their enamel permanently if they don’t let their enamel reharden by itself after drinking.

Sports drinks like Gatorade Clear have a very high acidic level—pH level of 2.4. Sodas, like Coke, are less acidic with pH levels of 3.0 or higher.

Mark Wolff, Professor and Chairman of the Department of Cariology & Comprehensive Care at New York University College of Dentistry, who led the 2009 study researching tooth enamel said,brushing teeth immediately after consuming a sports drink can compound the problem of tooth erosion, because softened enamel is very susceptible to the abrasive properties of toothpaste.”The condition, known as erosive tooth wear, affects 1 in 15 Americans and can result in severe tooth damage and even tooth loss if left untreated, say the NYU researchers.

A survey of 20 high school students from Rockwood Summit High School in Fenton, MO found that 90% of students did not know that sports drinks have a large amount of acid that can damage enamel. However, 40% actually cared how their enamel is affected, but only 20% admitted that they would modify their amount of these drinks that they would consume.

Jessica McDonnell, a senior, drinks Gatorade and thought that her beverage was a healthier choice than soda. This turned out to be a common misconception among the teens interviewed. “I’m really surprised. Some of these pH levels of sports drinks are much higher than soda,” says Jessica, “I’ll probably limit my consumption.”

Other teens said that they didn’t see how these levels could actually damage their teeth, after all teeth repair themselves everyday from harmful things, that’s the body’s job.

Tim Carnell, a senior, said he didn’t care if these drinks hurt his enamel because, “everything does, that’s why we brush our teeth.” Mary Lee 

Related Stories: The Health Effects of Soda Consumption; Can Sports Drinks Lead to the Erosion of Tooth Enamel?; Dental Care is Important to Disabled Population

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  1. I love the closing quote by Tim Carnell- It seems as though Mr. Carnell missed your lede…

    Overall, this is a decent article- I especially like that you did your own research at your school and included those statistics and quotes to give the story a local angle. Still, you could have gathered comments from other experts about the NYU researchers’ findings to give your story stronger attribution from multiple sources.

  2. I Love This Article This Is Very Interesting Because I Didnt Know That Energy And Sports Drinks Can Damage Your Teeteh.. This Is Something That Is Very Important And Something To Watch Out Because I Drink Gaterade All The Time And I Dont Want My Teeth To Be Damaged.

  3. I find this Intresting because for a dentist to tell people not to brush afta drinking energy drinks is kind nasty but then again they are just trying to help by saving people teeth but i will be asking my dentist.

  4. Of course the title of the article made me want to read it!! :-)) I was thinking "ewwww". However, it was very informative. Thanks, this is good to know.