Energy drinks are popular among both teenagers and adults. Whether you’re desperate for some help to get you through those last few grueling hours at work, or you need a pick-me-up to power through a late-night study session, it’s easy to head to the convenience store and buy some bottled energy. However, is it really wise to rely on these beverages? Habitually consuming them could lead to some serious consequences. Let’s discuss the link between declining oral health and energy drinks.
How Sugar Affects Teeth
Tooth enamel is the outermost layer of the teeth. It is the hardest substance in the human body, and its job is to protect the sensitive dentin and pulp beneath it. As tough as it is, however, it is not invincible. When sugar interacts with the bacteria in your mouth, it produces acids that weaken the enamel. Prolonged exposure to these acids can lead to irreversible tooth damage.
Unfortunately, energy and sports drinks contain tons of sugar. For example, a regular Monster energy drink contains a whopping 55 grams of sugar. Other drinks, such as Red Bull and Rockstar, are not much better.
Sugar-Free Doesn’t Mean Safe
Many beverage companies market sugar-free or low-sugar alternatives to traditional sports and energy drinks. However, that doesn’t mean they’re safe for your teeth. They may contain high levels of citric acids or other types of acid that can erode enamel even without the help of sugar. Carbonated energy drinks are particularly guilty of causing dental problems.
Besides traditional energy drinks, you should also be wary of:
- Body Armor. Some varieties of this popular drink are quite acidic. They may also have high sugar levels.
- Gatorade. Even sugar-free Gatorade can bathe your teeth in acid. Gatorade Blue is the worst sports drink for teeth because of its high acid content.
- Coconut water. Coconut water has been advertised as “nature’s sports drink” because it contains natural electrolytes. It may be better for your teeth than artificial alternatives, but it is still not exactly smile-friendly. If you choose to drink it, pick a variety with no added sugar or flavors.
Protect Your Teeth
Researchers conducted a study and found that after just five days, habitually consuming energy drinks can cause tooth enamel to lose roughly three percent of its weight. Over time, the cumulative damage could be catastrophic. Therefore, you have every reason to avoid energy drinks and stick to drinking plain water. If you need an energy boost, choose coffee or tea, and rinse your mouth with water afterward. Your good habits will reward you with a healthier mouth and a reduced risk of painful dental problems!
About the Author
Dr. Aiyana Zenobia Anderson is a general dentist in Alamo Ranch with over seven years of experience. She particularly enjoys helping patients overcome dental anxiety and adopt a positive view of oral healthcare. If you have questions about how to make wise beverage choices, or it is simply time for your next checkup, she would be happy to help you. Contact our office at 210-463-9339.