In case you thought energy drinks and sports drinks were somehow better than soda, here's a reality check: a new study found that energy and sports drinks actually cause "irreversible damage" to your pearly whites.
Published in the most recent issue of General Dentistry, the study examined the acidity levels of 13 sports drinks and nine energy drinks. Researchers tested the effects of the drinks on human enamel after 15-minute intervals four times a day.
The results? After the fifth day, researchers found damage to the enamel with both sports and energy drinks. Energy drinks cause the enamel to lose a mean of 3.1 percent of its weight, while sports drinks had a mean enamel loss of 1.5 percent.
Acidity levels differed between brands and flavors, but researchers pinpointed Gatorade Blue as the worst sports drink to drink, since it has the highest titratable acidity level (which measures how many ions affect tooth surface).
As for energy drinks, Red Bull Sugar Free, Monster Assault, 5-Hour Energy, Von Dutch, and Rockstar were all pinpointed as the worst for your teeth. MDX, however, had the lowest titratable acidity level, making it slightly less scary than the rest of those energy drinks.
Nevertheless, all sports and energy drinks tested had pH levels lower than 5.5, the acidity level when teeth enamel starts deteriorating, meaning teenagers chugging Gatorade may be killing their teeth.
"Most of these patients are shocked to learn that these drinks are essentially bathing their teeth with acid," lead author Poonam Jain said in a press release.
To reduce the effects of energy and sports drinks, the Academy of General Dentistry suggests rinsing your mouth with water after drinking that Red Bull, chewing sugar-free gum, and refraining from brushing for at least an hour.