Gatorade Tough on Teeth?
Study Shows Gatorade, Red Bull, Coke, Fruit Juice All Erode Teeth; Gatorade Erodes Fastest
Sports Drinks and Cavities
Because of their acidity and sugar content, researchers have studied the role of sports drinks in the development of cavities. Most of the studies, however, exonerate the sports drinks.
Craig Horswill, PhD, senior research fellow at the Gatorade Sports Science Institute, in 2005 reported a study of saliva flow in endurance athletes who drank Gatorade, diluted orange juice, a homemade sports drink, or water. The study showed that if the sports drinks had any effect, it was to decrease dehydration and increase saliva flow, which reduces cavity formation.
More to the point, a 2002 Ohio State University study of 304 athletes found no link between sports-drink use and dental erosion. The study was sponsored by Quaker Oats, which makes Gatorade.
"Dental erosion among users of sports drinks in the Ohio State study was the same as it was in nonusers," Horswill tells WebMD. "And they averaged 10 years of sports drink use."
Ignelzi says that what matters most isn't which beverage people drink. It's how and when they drink it.
"A lot of things can cause [cavities], including sugared drinks. It is the way they are taken that is most important," he says. "The frequency of exposure is key. If you sip a Pepsi all day, that is very harmful. But if you are taking any sweet or carb -- cheese puffs, bread, raisins -- if you take it during meals, it is a good thing. Because the saliva stimulated by your chewing buffers the acid. But if you are constantly snacking on sweets or sipping a sweet beverage, your teeth are exposed to acid all day long."