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If you reach for sports drinks after you hit the gym, you may be making more work for your dentist. Researchers from the University of Maryland Dental School have found that these sweet drinks damage the tooth's enamel layer and put you at a greater risk for tooth decay. In fact, the researchers believe sports and energy drinks are more damaging to enamel than soda or other flavored drinks! The experts say the harm lies not in the drinks' sugar content but in their acid levels. All sweet drinks contain acids, but sports drinks usually contain additional organic acids that can speed up damage to your teeth.
You can minimize the harmful effects of these acids by drinking sports beverages through a straw, rinsing your mouth out with plain water after drinking them, or chugging them instead of sipping them slowly over long periods of time. Interestingly, you shouldn't reach for your toothbrush after downing a sports drink — the abrasive nature of brushing can actually help the acids do their job! My advice? Play it safe — fill your sports bottle with plain old water instead. You can't go wrong!