High performance sports drinks can cause 30 times more damage to athletes' teeth than water, according to scientists at Birmingham University.
A joint study between the university's schools of dentistry and sport and exercise sciences found the continued use of such drinks could lead to alarming levels of enamel loss.
However, researchers have identified low-erosion technology which could render the sugar and glucose-laden drinks as harmless as water.
Elite sports people consume five and ten litres of performance drinks a day during training.
These contain a higher acidity level for taste and to increase the product's shelf life.
However, athletes are at particularly high risk of tooth erosion, as they have dry mouths so do not produce enough saliva to regulate the acidity of sports drinks.
Dr Tony Smith, the school of dentistry's head of research, said: "This study has shown that while an existing sports drink was erosive, it has been possible to formulate this new sports drink with negligible erosive potential."