Sipping on sports drinks can damage your teeth because of the high levels of acid in them, dentists have warned.
Dental experts placed teeth in sports drinks and in water to compare the effects and found the citric acid in the sports drinks caused corrosion and could result in severe tooth damage if left untreated.
The results of the experiment were presented at the annual meeting of the International Association for Dental Research in Miami.
Researchers at the New York University College of Dentistry cut calves' teeth in half and immersed each half in either a sports drink or water and compared the results after 75 to 90 minutes.
"This is the first time that the citric acid in sports drinks has been linked to erosive tooth wear," said Dr Mark Wolff, Professor and Chairman of the Department of Cariology and Comprehensive Care at the college, who led the study.
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The erosion on the half placed in the sports drink was clearly visible because dozens of tiny holes had appeared while there was no damage on the half which was immersed in water.
Brushing teeth immediately after the drinks would compound the problem, Dr Wolff said, because the acid in the drink softens tooth enamel leaving it vulnerable to the the abrasive brushing with toothpaste.
In another study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, scientists found cutting out one serving of sugared soft drink led to weight loss of just over one pound after six months and 1lb 4oz after 18 months. Cutting out other drinks did not have the same effect, the researchers said.
A spokesman for the British Soft Drinks Association said: "This study does not replicate real life as the teeth were studied outside of the mouth. A real-life study conducted by Ohio State University, which is the most comprehensive study to date, found that there is no relationship between the consumption of sports drinks and dental erosion. Anyone concerned about this issue should consult their dentist for advice on how to minimise the effects of dietary acids from all sources in the diet."