Energy Drinks And Your Teeth Don’t Mix
Energy drinks are all the rage for today’s teens and young adults. These beverages promise boosts of vitality to the mind and body along with providing a whole host of other benefits like adding essential vitamins and even burning body fat. Unfortunately, energy drinks fall into that category of things that are too good to be true.
While energy drinks do provide a boost of energy, it comes at a price. Most energy drinks contain sugar and stimulants, like caffeine; two things, when taken in large amounts, can be harmful to your body and especially your teeth.
How do energy drinks damage teeth?
Like all sugary drinks, energy drinks weaken enamel, inviting cavities. But energy drinks are also acidic, which deteriorates enamel. In fact, the Journal of the American Dental Association reported the high titratable acidity in energy drinks disintegrates tooth enamel at an alarming rate. Researchers tested several drinks and their effects on teeth and found the pH levels, along with titratable acidity, severely damaged enamel in about a week. The effects of the test would be similar to someone who drinks several energy drinks a day. How many teens or even kids do you know that drink at least one, if not more, energy drinks a day? A lot, especially if they can buy them themselves.
So why is enamel so important?
Enamel is the hard, calcified tissue that covers the crown of each tooth. Enamel protects your teeth from daily wear and tear. It keeps you from feeling extreme temperature swings, that hot cup of coffee and cold ice cream. Once you get holes in your enamel those hot drinks and cold treats can cause tremendous nerve pain. Cavities form in weak enamel as well. Since enamel contains no living tissues, it cannot repair any damage from decay or wear; once it’s gone, it’s gone. Enamel is also what makes your teeth white. Once you wear that off, the yellow layer under it is what shows, and no whitening toothpaste will get your pearly whites back.
How can my kids consume energy and sports drinks safely?
Well, really the best answer is NOT to drink them or drink them very rarely. And when your kids do drink them, use a straw so the sugary, acidic liquid isn’t being swished around the teeth. Drinking water right after one of these drinks to help rinse the mouth. Drinking milk also helps to balance acidic foods. Chewing gum can also help as it promotes saliva which buffers and removes acids. Also, it is important to note to NOT brush teeth immediately after drinking an energy drink, that can harm the teeth even more as it grinds the acid into the enamel. Wait at least an hour before brushing.
If you’re concerned about what too many energy drinks are doing to your or your children’s mouths, give Dr. Vacek a call in his Lincoln, Neb. office. He can identify any issues and help you prevent future ones.