Athletes are increasingly needing emergency dentistry because sports drinks are damaging their teeth, one expert has warned.
Dr Brett Dorney told ABC Grandstand Sport that he first noticed problems with athletes' teeth in Sydney in 1995, when the drinks began to be introduced to boost performance.
He explained it is now a widespread problem, meaning that many "elite athletes do not have elite mouths".
Problems occur because the drinks are acidic, adding to the acid being produced by bacteria already in the mouth to cause decay.
Sports dietitian Emma Rippon said people do not need to stop having these drinks altogether, but recommended squirting them to the back of the mouth and not consuming them while wearing a mouthguard, which can trap the liquid close to the teeth.
This follows a study by Tufts University professor of nutrition and oral health Carole Palmer, who found that people who sip sweet drinks slowly over the course of a few hours – or constantly drink sugary coffee while they work – are most at risk of decay, Time magazine reported.