How Do Energy Drinks Affect Your Teeth?
Energy drinks have transformed the face of soft drink consumption in the U.S. over the last two decades. These drinks are popular among children, teens and young adults. Most people fail to understand that along with various damages to overall health, these highly acidic drinks strip the enamel from teeth.
Study Outlines the Effects of Energy Drinks on Teeth
In the May/June 2012 edition of General Dentistry, scientists studied the effects of energy drinks on the teeth for the first time. The study involved the evaluation of 22 beverages that are popular among young adults, and they wanted to understand what impact energy drinks and sports drinks have on tooth enamel. This was done by measuring the time taken by saliva to neutralize the acid in the mouth.
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Human saliva has a neutral pH of around 6.8 or 7 which can decrease considerably if you are consuming a highly acidic drink. It takes almost 30 minutes for the human body to restore the saliva to its normal pH. During those 30 minutes, your teeth are mostly immersed in an acidic environment.
Here’s what the study revealed:
- The acidity level of energy drinks was double than that of sports drinks.
- These highly acidic drinks can easily damage the teeth enamel.
- The lower the pH of the drink, the higher the risk of missing enamel from your teeth.
Effects of Energy Drinks on Teeth
The citric acid, which is used as a preservative in the energy drinks to enhance their flavor and shelf life, can erode the teeth enamel. As a result, your teeth become exposed to the bacterial activity that causes potential problems like sensitivity, cavity, and tooth decay.
Overconsumption of energy drinks, which are high in sugar and acidic pH content, can lead to cavities just like soda drinks.
- Sugar - The mouth bacteria feed on the sugar present in energy drinks, releasing acid as the by-product. When this acid comes in contact with the enamel surface, it starts to erode and weaken the outer layer of the enamel.
- pH - All energy drinks, including the sugar-free ones, have a pH level below the threshold of 5.5, at which enamel starts to soften and becomes prone to decay. Regular consumption of very acidic drinks exposes you to a higher risk of cavities.
Both parents and children need to understand the adverse effects of overconsumption of energy drinks on their oral health.
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How to Reduce the Effect of Energy Drinks on Teeth
As with many fizzy drinks and sodas, you can reduce teeth damage from energy drinks if you limit their consumption and follow the tips below.
- Gulp them down in between your meals. The saliva produced while chewing will neutralize the acid in the energy drink.
- A dry mouth condition makes you more susceptible to developing cavities from energy drinks. Seek your dentist’s advice to address your dry mouth problems to enjoy an energy drink occasionally.
- Chew sugar-free gum for 20 minutes after consuming your energy drink. Chewing gum helps boost saliva production that neutralizes the acid in your mouth.
- Learn about your cavity risk because some people are at a higher risk of developing cavities than others. This will help you follow the necessary steps to reduce the risk as much as possible.
A few other tips include:
- Drink from a straw.
- Don’t keep the drink for a long time in the mouth.
- Rinse the mouth with water immediately after drinking an energy drink.
- Refrain from brushing teeth just after drinking an energy drink.
The Bottom Line
According to dental experts, consistent consumption of highly acidic and sugary energy drinks can lead to severe teeth damage. Energy drinks can also induce teeth grinding in people, leading to tooth breakage and loss. However, individual predisposition to both teeth cavities and enamel erosion varies depending on factors such as dental hygiene, lifestyle, diet, and genetic structure.
If you want to understand your risk of developing cavities, contact us today to schedule an appointment at our dental office in Ames, IA.