Drinking sports and energy drinks is akin to “bathing your teeth with acid”, a dentistry study has claimed.

A study published in the latest issue of the US journal General Dentistry examined the acidity levels of a range of sports drinks and energy drinks. It found that high acidity levels in the drinks had eroded tooth enamel after five days of exposure.

Researchers immersed samples of human tooth enamel in each drink for 15 minutes, then immersed the samples in artificial saliva for two hours.

The cycle was repeated four times a day for five days, and the samples were stored in fresh artificial saliva at all other times, to stimulate the exposure that “teens and young adults were subjecting their teeth to on a regular basis”.

“Young adults consume these drinks assuming that they will improve their sports performance and energy levels,” said Dr Poonam Jain, lead author of the study. “Most of these patients are shocked to learn that these drinks are essentially bathing their teeth with acid.”