Energy drinks have grown in popularity over the last decades particularly with children, teenagers and young adults. In fact, most of the marketing for energy drinks is geared towards a young audience. These drinks are widely promoted as enhancing mental alertness and physical performance. Recent polls also suggest that many teenagers and young adults consume energy drinks regularly, even daily. However, a growing body of scientific evidence shows that energy drinks negatively impact your health and dental health. Here, we look at the ugly truth on energy drinks and their effect on your teeth.
What are energy drinks?
An energy drink is a type of drink that contains stimulant compounds, which are marketed as providing mental and physical stimulation. There are two types of energy drinks: the ones sold in cans similar in size to soft drink cans, and what are known as “energy shots.” These shots are sold in small containers and are much more concentrated. While caffeine is the major ingredient in both types of energy drinks, they also contain other ingredients. These include: guarana (also known as Brazilian cocoa), sugars, taurine, ginseng, B vitamins, glucuronolactone, yohimbe, carnitine, and bitter orange.
Energy drinks: a dose of acid for your teeth!
There is growing concern in the dental community about the regular consumption of energy drinks. The high quantity of sugar is a major concern. Furthermore, the acidity of the drinks damages tooth enamel and can lead to tooth decay. Basically, energy drinks can seriously damage your teeth because they bathe them in acid. According to research from the University of Southern Illinois, energy drinks are two times more acidic than sports drinks. This acidity lowers the pH in your mouth. With just one or two sips, the pH in your mouth can go from roughly 6.8 or 7 (which is neutral) to 2. As it takes your saliva about 30 minutes to restore a normal pH, your teeth will basically sit in acid. Now imagine drinking a whole can or glass.
How do energy drinks harm your teeth?
The significant acidity of energy drinks can gradually destroy tooth enamel. In fact, if your tooth enamel is damaged, then your mouth is more prone to bacteria. If bacteria get into the teeth and gums, this can lead to serious dental problems. Furthermore, without their enamel protection, teeth may become more sensitive. This hypersensitivity may cause discomfort and pain, especially when you consume certain foods or drinks. The roots of your teeth can also become inflamed and bleeding of the gums may occur. Additionally, as enamel erodes, your teeth will be more prone to decay and cavities.
Another side effect of energy drink consumption is teeth grinding. After consuming an energy drink, some people become so wired they grind their teeth. And this can lead to tooth damage and breakage.
How to protect your teeth
We highly recommend cutting down or cutting out energy drinks entirely. However, here are a few tips to help reduce the harmful effects of acid on your teeth:
· Replace energy drinks with healthier options such as smoothies, green juices, protein shakes and water.
· Do not brush teeth right before or after consuming an energy drink.
· Drink plenty of water to dilute the acid.
· Chew sugarless gum to stimulate the production of saliva.
Recent studies have shown that energy drinks, because of their high levels of sugar and caffeine, can be harmful to your health and dental health. We recommend cutting them out of your diet completely or drinking them sporadically. And remember, if you or your children consume energy drinks, it is important to visit your dentist regularly. Make an appointment today at the Fortin Poirier Dental Clinic.