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J Dent. 2005 Apr;33(4):343-8. Epub 2004 Dec 25.

A methodology for testing the erosive potential of sports drinks.

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  • 1Division of Restorative Dentistry, Department of Oral and Dental Science, Bristol Dental Hospital, University of Bristol, Lower Maudlin Street, Bristol BS1 2LY, UK.



The aim of the study was to develop and test a methodology in situ, which simulated the consumption of sports drinks. A secondary aim was to assess the acceptability of the method to sedentary participants.


To select the sports drink for the study in situ, five commercially available sports drinks were examined for erosive potential in vitro. The study in situ was a single centre, 2-period, 2-treatment crossover study to compare the erosive effect of a commercially available sports drink (Test), with that of mineral water (Control), over 10 day periods on 10 healthy volunteers. Subjects wore upper removable appliances containing two human enamel specimens from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The regimen of intake of the drinks was 350 ml in 10, 5-min rest, 650 ml in 25, 5-min rest, 500 ml in 10 and 5-min rest. Measurements of enamel loss were made on samples after 5 and 10 days by profilometry.


The in situ study showed a statistically significant difference in erosive potential between the test and control beverages. No specimen exposed to the control beverage displayed appreciable erosion. Erosion occurred with the test drink, but to a variable degree between subjects. The subjects unanimously found the drinking regimen unpleasant.


The sports drink caused significantly more erosion in situ than water and as seen in other studies, there was marked variation in susceptibility to erosion between subjects. The new drinking regimen was designed to simulate pre, during and post-exercise intake. Although all the sedentary subjects participating in this study reported that they found the volume of fluids consumed over a short period of time excessive it is unlikely that this would prove problematic in the exercise environment.

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