Sports Drinks and Energy Drinks - Spare Your Teeth; Sip Something Else

A recent study says the acidity level of energy and sports drinks is more damaging to teeth than soda pop. Thirteen sports drinks and nine energy drinks were tested for their effect on tooth enamel. Irreversible damage occurred after only five days of exposure to the drinks, with energy drinks being the most "corrosive."

Both beverages are widely popular these days, especially amongst teens. Approximately 30 to 50 percent consume energy drinks, with 60 percent having at least one sports drink every day.

Ideally, switch it up. If you need to rehydrate, try waters (including fruit infused waters – see ideas below) or low-sugared teas. If it's a boost of energy you need, coffee and some teas can deliver the goods without teeth-harming results. (Brush often to avoid their staining potential.)

If you're sticking with the sports and energy drinks, chew sugar-free gun or rinse your mouth with water after drinking them. That can help lessen the damage to tooth enamel.

To make refreshing flavor-infused waters:

  • Use a specially-designed water infusion pitcher, if desired, or tightly wrap flavor agents in a tied cheesecloth bundle and place in the water.
  • Use filtered water for best results.
  • Thinly slice fruits or vegetables like cucumber or lemon and tear fresh herbs to best release their essence and aroma.
  • Add flavoring ingredients to a pitcher of water and refrigerate (anywhere from 2 hours to overnight). The longer it sits, the more flavor is released.
  • You can also steep herbs, muddled fruit, strips of citrus zest and whole spices (or a combination) in hot water as you would tea. Cool and add to cold water.
  • Be careful not to oversteep infusions ñ bitter or acidic tastes may result. 15-30 minutes is plenty.
  • Don't cool a steeped brew too quickly or the infusion may become cloudy. Let it cool at room temp. before chilling.
  • Do not leave citrus fruit rinds in the infusion pitcher if you plan to store it more than a few hours – they will lend a bitter profile to infusions as they hold.
  • Keep pitcher covered in the refrigerator to prevent it from absorbing odors. Drink it within 2 days for freshest flavor.
  • Try these flavor combinations – citrus with herb: lemon-rosemary or orange-mint; berry with herb: blueberry or strawberry-basil or raspberry or blackberry-mint; or fruit and spice: pineapple-nutmeg and peach-pepper.

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