Drinking sports and energy drinks is the same as "bathing your teeth with acid", dentists say.

Researchers immersed samples of tooth enamel in 22 different brands of energy drink for 15 minutes at a time. They then left them in artificial saliva for two hours. The cycle was repeated four times a day.

This simulated "the same exposure that a large proportion of teens and young adults are subjecting their teeth to on a regular basis when they drink one of these beverages every few hours," researchers said.

Damage to the enamel was evident after just five days.


"Young adults consume these drinks assuming that they will improve their sports performance and energy levels and that they are 'better' for them than other soft drinks," said Dr Poonam Jain, from the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD) in the US.

"Most are shocked to learn [they] are essentially bathing their teeth with acid."

Damage caused to tooth enamel is irreversible. Without it, teeth become overly sensitive, prone to cavities, and more likely to decay.

Dentists recommend that people limit their intake of sports and energy drinks, and chew sugar-free gum or rinse their mouth with water after drinking them.

Dr Jennifer Bone from the AGD said: "Both tactics increase saliva flow, which naturally helps to return the acidity levels in the mouth to normal."

She suggests waiting at least an hour before brushing your teeth after consuming such drinks to avoid spreading acid around and causing more damage.