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Developed by passionate cyclists – the science behind base

base products are designed to be used during exercise in parallel with existing, high sugar/carbohydrate sports nutrition, allowing users to maintain high levels of performance. Fuel your workout, protect your teeth (and read the science).

the problem

The science shows consumption of glucose, fructose and sucrose found ubiquitously in sports nutrition products can lead to an increase in dental cavities and a decline in oral health (1). Primarily, the acid produced during bacterial fermentation of supplied sugars softens and de-mineralises dental enamel (2), whilst the low pH of sports drinks can also directly degrade enamel, promoting calcium and phosphate stripping, leading to tooth decay (3).

Some sports (especially cycling) may have durations of >2h, where consumption of high sugar products is constant, to maintain performance (4). Although saliva acts to re-mineralise enamel by neutralising acids, this can take over an hour depending on the quality of the saliva and whether the athlete is dehydrated (athletes are often chronically dehydrated; 5, 6). In order to allow saliva to re-mineralise enamel, consumption of sports nutrition products must cease: this is often not desirable during training and competition if performance is to be maintained (4). Should dehydration occur, the body preserves moisture by reducing saliva flow, exacerbating dental erosion (6).

Over such timescales as typically seen in endurance sports (>30 min), significant decrease in oral pH (7) and damage to dental enamel has been reported (8). The link between sports drink (and other high sugar products) consumption and dental health has been made in many studies and is conclusive, showing that increased consumption is detrimental to dental health (1,2,3,7,8).

During a period of endurance exercise, few opportunities exist for participants to care for their dental health by neutralising oral acids and removing bacterial biofilms. Intra-workout brushing is not an option, use of a mouthwash would taint any subsequent food/drink consumption, whilst water is often not an attractive, nor an effective option (owing to the low contact time between water and teeth).

Figure 1. Oral pH change over time, during consumption of commercially available sports drink (made as directed) whilst cycling. base consumed at 120 min and the data show a clear neutralisation of oral acids, which in turn mitigate erosive effects on dental enamel

base products facilitate the use of performance promoting high-sugar/carbohydrate products, but reduce their negative influence on dental health. This is the science behind base