Energy drinks and citrus-flavored beverages -- like many sports drinks -- are more abrasive on tooth enamel than tea or even cola drinks, von Fraunhofer reported in a recent issue of the journal General Dentistry.
In the study, he exposed enamel from teeth that had been extracted due to cavities or other problems to a variety of beverages, including energy drinks, fitness water and sports drinks, lemonade and ice tea. He simulated 13 years of exposure during normal beverage consumption, while weighing the teeth before and after exposure to calculate enamel dissolution. While all the drinks produced some enamel damage, von Fraunhofer found the most wear occurred, in descending order, from -- lemonade, energy drinks, sports drinks, fitness water, ice tea and cola. Von Fraunhofer said most cola drinks contain acids, but energy and sport drinks also contain other organic acids that can speed up damage to the enamel.
Van Fraunhofer said: "The integrity of the tooth is dependent on having the enamel there. Once the enamel is gone, it is gone."