A recent study published in the journal General Dentistry concluded that the rise in consumption of energy and sports drinks amongst the nation's young adults is leading to "irreversible damage" to teeth because of the high acidity in the beverages.
Conducted by Southern Illinois University, the research team found that the acidic drinks noticeably eroded tooth enamel, which the body is not able to replace. A loss in tooth enamel can lead to faster development of cavities and more serious tooth and gum diseases. According to lead researcher, Dr. Poonam Jain, perceptible damage to the tooth enamel occurred within just five days of consuming the energy or sports drinks. The energy drinks, such as Redbull, Rockstar or Monster, were proven to be twice as damaging as the sports drinks.
The study's researchers examined 13 sports drinks and 9 energy drinks, specifically the levels of acidity. The team then exposed human tooth enamel to the products for 15 minutes followed by human saliva for several hours.
Energy and performance drinks have become extremely popular amongst teenagers and young adults in recent years who think the products are better -- or provide a greater energy benefit -- than soda or soft drinks. The category is estimated to be $6 billion and growing steadily.
The research is another serious blow against the safety of the energy/sports drink category. In 2011, the Journal of American Medical Association published data on the health risks associated with the high caffeine content and energy-enhancing herbal ingredients in many of the popular energy drink brands.
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