February 10/Indianapolis/The Indiana Statesman -- Over the last few years, junior high and high schools have been pulling out their soda machines and replacing them with machines dispensing water and sport drinks, thought to be a healthier exchange. However, research has shown that sport drinks can be even more damaging to teeth than soda.

Wish-TV 8 news ran a segment demonstrating the dangerous effects that soda, sport drinks and energy drinks had on the shells of hard-boiled eggs, which resemble the enamel of teeth. Hard-boiled eggs were placed overnight in cups each filled with different liquids: Gatorade, Monster, Mountain Dew, Coca-Cola, Red Bull and milk.

Red Bull, Gatorade and Coca-Cola actually ate into the hard enamel after sitting for one night because of the amount of suga and, more importantly, the amount of acid in the drink. Dentists have said that excessive sugar is bad for teeth and causes cavities and loss of enamel, but acidic drinks are even more devastating.

Gatorade, thought to be as healthy as water, was the cause of one high school athlete gaining 12 cavities within 18 months, according to Wish-TV 8. The active teen said he drank three Gatorades a day, because his parents thought they were healthier than soda and would replenish his fluids after sporting events. The acid in the sport drink began to give him multiple cavities near his gum line.

The Wish-TV 8 news segment stressed that acid softened and thinned the tooth enamel but said there were ways to lessen the potential damage if you insisted on drinking soda, sport drinks and energy drinks:

Always drink beverages cold, because the amount of acid in a drink actually increases as the temperature of the beverage increases.

Drink the beverage before one has become dehydrated by working out or playing a game, because the saliva the mouth generates when one is hydrated can help block the acid from causing increased damage to the enamel.

Because the acid has softened the enamel, do not brush teeth directly after consuming an acidic beverage.

Dentists recommend drinking the beverage in one sitting, rather than sipping throughout the day, because the enamel takes several hours to re-harden once the acid has made contact with the teeth.

Drink the acidic beverage with food or through a straw to minimize the amount of direct contact the beverage has with teeth.

 From the February 10, 2012, Prepared Foods' Daily News.