Are energy and sports drinks bad for teeth?
Today people of all ages are consuming energy drinks at a remarkable volume. These drinks affect your health, your energy, and, yes, your teeth. Sugar may have a bad reputation with your dentist, but the acid in energy and sport drinks can cause irreversible damage to your teeth.
Energy drinks have soared in popularity since the 1990s with many brands available to the consumer. The big misconception is that energy drinks and sports drinks are healthier than soda for oral health. However, The American Journal of Dentistry as well as many other studies have actually found that both energy and sport drinks contain high levels of citric acid, which can erode or thin out the enamel of the teeth, leaving your teeth more susceptible to decay, sensitivity and boosting the risk of cavities. In fact, a 2012 study of study energy drinks found that they actually contain higher volumes of acid and deteriorate enamel two times faster than ordinary soft drinks.
Another study found in the journal General Dentistry showed that tooth enamel is damaged after being exposed to sports drinks or energy drinks for just five days, with energy drinks causing two times as much enamel damage as the sports drinks. The study tested the acidity in nine different energy drinks and 13 different sports drinks. For the study, they soaked tooth enamel samples in each sport or energy drink for 15 minutes, and then soaked them for two hours in artificial saliva, each four times a day for five days. The study found that not all acidity levels were the same between brands, nor were they the same between flavors within the brands, however all brands showed enamel damage was evident after just five days.
Brightly-colored, sugar-filled energy and sports drinks are everywhere — in vending machines, cafeterias and gas stations. Energy drinks are carbonated or non-carbonated drinks. They are designed to give the consumer an energy boost, either through the use of sugar or caffeine and other natural ingredients. These include ginseng, vitamins, and various amino acids and extracts. These drinks have higher acid levels than other popular drinks like teas and soft drinks. Up to half of U.S. teens and young adults drink energy drinks and more than half have at last one sports drink a day. Many young adults or teens consume these drinks and don’t realize that something as seemingly harmless as a sports or energy drink can do a lot of damage to their teeth. Most patients are actually shocked to learn that these drinks are essentially rinsing their teeth with citric acid.
HOW YOU CAN PREVENT DAMAGE TO YOUR TEETH
The only way to prevent the damage is cut down on energy and sports drink consumption, It’s not just what you drink but how. However, if you are absolutely unable to give them up, below are some suggestions on how you can prevent damage to your teeth:
1. Neutralize acids with water: It’s important to neutralize acids with water, whether from a water bottle or a drinking fountain, you should rinse your mouth with water after drinking energy drinks. This is to help your saliva neutralize the acids and restore the proper balance in your mouth, which usually takes about 30 minutes to bring the pH back to normal. Rinsing first is recommended over brushing your teeth, because toothpaste isn’t designed to neutralize acids. If you brush your teeth immediately after drinking an acidic drink you’re simply spreading the acids over the whole mouth.
2. Wait an hour, then brush your teeth: Although you are encouraged to rinse your mouth with water after drinking energy and sports drinks this does not replace brushing. Simply wait an hour, to be safe, then brush your teeth as usual. Remember the importance of continuing your daily dental care by brushing and flossing daily. “Two minutes a day, twice a day” every day.”
3. Schedule regular check-ups: It’s recommended that you have regular cleanings and check-ups. Make routine exams a priority for you and your family. You can have your teeth cleaned and assessed for any damage that consuming these drinks might have caused. In addition, you will gain important tips and knowledge about oral health and at-home care.
Call your dentist or orthodontist today to schedule a consultation for your specific dental needs.