Acidic drinks such as soda cause long term damage to teeth, according to a new study by the Universy of Adelaide. Within 30 seconds of drinking an acidic drink, lifelong damage happens in the form of dental erosion. Most sodas have either phosphoric acid or citric acid. As a dentist, I use phosphoric acid every day to etch teeth to help my fillings stay in the tooth. The acid makes tiny etcings in tooth enamel allowing the filling more surface area to grab. Such drinks are best avoided, including diet soft drinks which are also acidic. Phosphoric acid is added to most soft drinks to make the drink taste tangy.
A 32 ounce sports drink can contain up to 14 teaspoons of sugar, while a 20-ounce soda has more than 16 teaspoons of sugar. When bacteria in your mouth are exposed to sugar to feed on, the by product is also acid. So acid producing bacteria plus phosphoric acid added to the drink are a double whammy for tooth decay.
Kids should be encouraged to drink water or low fat milk over sugar ladedn drinks like soda,fruit juice or energy drinks. Flouridated water is the best choice since not only does it not contain sugar but actually strenghthens the enamel by replacing the calcium ion with a more decay resistant flouride ion in your tooth.