Hiddit, the Belgian triathlete-focused supplements brand, has revealed low acidity endurance drinks to address a ‘real need’ for products that do not damage tooth enamel.
Founder Tony Van Campen says recent research by the Centre for Oral Health and Performance found that nearly half (49.1%) of athletes had untreated tooth decay and 77% had inflamed gums, an early indicator of gum disease.
“This extreme high level of tooth decay negatively impacts health and performance, not to mention aesthetics," Campen told Nutraingredients.
“It is caused by a combination of factors, such as high air flow through the open mouth during intensive efforts and limiting saliva production. But part of the issue is also the extensive use of sports drinks, especially highly acidic drinks with pH lover than 5 – 5,5."
The entrepreneur argues that many athletes don't realise that most sports drinks are highly acidic, often hovering between 3-4 pH, which can have an erosive effect.
He adds: “Of course, especially in a triathlete's case, endurance athletes consume big quantities of sports drinks such as isotonic drinks. A triathlete averaging 10-20 hours of training per week easily, is very affected by the erosive effect of these drinks.”
Van Campen says his solution to this problem is based on research by Asker Jeukendru which showed that combining a certain pH and a very specific level of calcium in an isotonic drink can stop enamel erosion and, in fact, this specific formula had the same effect on teeth as drinking plain water.
"This prompted us to develop and launch our new range of isotonic drinks, all with pH above 5.5, our Isotonic Neutral even has a pH of 7, like water, and with the exact amount of calcium as proven to be effective in the study.
"Our target group can enjoy a delicious, technically superior endurance drink that will also not damage their tooth enamel, and therefore contribute to general health and appearance."
The new drink is available on Hiddit's webpage as well as the 70 partner pharmacies in Belgium.
Hiddit - short for 'How I did it' - is on a mission provide athletes with the best possible products to cut through all the confusion caused by conflicting studies.
Van Campen says the brand's products are based around insight and demands from triathletes, whose health can be compromised by the many hours involved in training and competitions.
As a trailblazer at Nutraingredients' Sports Nutrition Congress last year, Van Campen was able to present his business to, and receive feedback from, more than 100 professionals in the sports nutrition field.
The study by UCL Eastman Dental Institute screened more than 350 sportsmen and women from 11 Olympic and professional disciplines, making the study the largest and most comprehensive ever conducted.
As well as the high number of gum disease and tooth decay, 39% self-reported having bleeding gums while cleaning their teeth, a sign of gum inflammation. Only 1.1% of the participants had 'excellent' periodontal health.
The athletes with untreated tooth decay and inflamed gums reported that these conditions had impacted negatively on their performance as well as their ability to eat, relax, sleep and smile.
Lead author Professor Ian Needleman said: “This is the most methodologically robust study to ever evaluate oral health and associated performance impacts in elite athletes.
“Every sport examined revealed significant levels of oral ill-health with the overall risk of tooth decay being higher for an elite athlete than the general population.
“The odds of having tooth decay was also 2.4 times greater in team sport than endurance sport.”
Community Dentistry and Oral Epidemiology
Published online: https://doi.org/10.1111/cdoe.12392
'Oral health and performance impacts in elite and professional athletes'
Authors: Gallagher.J., et al