Gatorade Sports Science Institute statement about sports drinks, dental erosion

April 6, 2009
Institute says that the current body of research shows there is no relationship between drinking sports drinks and dental erosion.

Gatorade Sports Science Institute has issued a statement to the recent press release from New York University College of Dentistry research study regarding sports drinks and dental erosion:

"This study does not replicate real life as the teeth were studied extracted from the mouth. The Ohio State University conducted a study of some 300 athletes, the most comprehensive to date, and concluded that there is no relationship between the consumption of sports drinks and dental erosion."

--Dr. Craig Horswill, senior research fellow at the Gatorade Sports Science Institute

To view the press release from the New York University College of Dentistry, go to New York University College of Dentistry research study.

The institute provides the following dental erosion "fact sheet," based on research of the same subject done by Ohio State University:


Dental erosion is tooth wear that can occur for some people when acids interact with tooth enamel and for as yet unexplained reasons, the enamel wears away. Causes of dental erosion include genetic factors, limited saliva production, acid reflux, a diet high in acidic foods or an eating disorder.

Results from the most comprehensive study of its kind to-date, conducted at Ohio State University and published in Caries Research, disprove theories that attempt to show a link between sports drinks and dental erosion by revealing no relationship between sports drinks consumption and dental erosion development.


To determine if there is a connection between regular sports drink consumption and dental erosion

Drs. Tanya Mathew and Paul S. Casamassimo, College of Dentistry, Ohio State University
Dr. John R. Hayes, Children's Research Institute, Children's Hospital, Columbus Ohio

Subject Profile
304 Ohio State University student athletes
* 61% male, 39% female
* Between the ages of 18 and 28
* Represented a variety of ethnic backgrounds
* Participated in high-intensity sports such as football, soccer and lacrosse

The research team conducted a cross-sectional, observational study using:
* A blinded clinical examination (measured with The Lussi index) to grade the frequency and severity of erosion of all tooth surfaces excluding third molars
* A self-administered questionnaire to gather details on sports drink usage, lifestyles, health problems, dietary and oral health habits
* Intraoral color slides and study casts were made for subjects where dental erosion was present

Study timeframe
The test was conducted in 2001 and published in Caries Research in 2002


Findings from the testing suggest that:

There is no connection between sport drinks and dental erosion
* The level of dental erosion among athletes regularly using sports drinks was 36 percent versus 40 percent erosion in non-users
Significant predictors of erosion may include:
* Beer drinking
* Not belonging to the African race
* Snacking between meals

References available upon request from the institute

For more information or to receive a copy of the original paper of the Ohio State University study, contact Lisa Carlson, MS, RD, at the Gatorade Sports Science Institute at (708) 447-2046.

To read more about dental erosion, go to dental erosion.

To comment on this topic, go to PennWell Dental Community site.