We all know that sugary drinks can lead to tooth decay, but what about the highly acidic energy drinks that are so popular now? Energy drinks hit the US market in 1997 and now the global energy drink market is predicted to reach $72 billion by 2024. Research into their health effects is still forthcoming, but we know that these acidic drinks can be very harmful to your oral health.
Acidity Can Ruin Your Teeth
The acidity level in energy drinks is two times greater than it is in soda and other sports drinks. Enamel is the hardest substance in the human body, even harder than bone. Research has shown that enamel dissolves in these highly acidic drinks. When the enamel is weak, the sugar will penetrate into the tooth, resulting in cavities.
The saliva in your mouth is roughly a pH of 6.8 or 7, which is considered a neutral environment. The lower the pH, the greater the potential for losing enamel from your teeth. Researchers found that even a small amount of a highly acidic drink can drop your saliva’s pH level.
A single sip of these highly acidic drinks and your saliva could potentially go down to 2 on the pH scale. It takes the human body around 30 minutes to return the saliva back to a normal pH level. During those 30 minutes, your teeth are essentially bathed in an acidic environment.
Nobody drinks a single sip; a typical can or bottle is 12 oz. to 20 oz., which submerges your teeth in acid. Many teens and adults drink energy drinks at least once a day, consuming sugar, acids, and caffeine, which aids in weakening tooth enamel. With weakened enamel, the sugars can seep into the tooth and cause tooth decay. Tooth decay affects over 90 percent of the adult population in the United States and it affects more than 40 percent of children between the ages of 2 and 19.
Dental erosion is caused by exposing your teeth to acids. The high acidity level increases the risk of dental tooth erosion which can result in serious consequences. The dental-erosion-causing acids go to work on tooth enamel, dissolving the enamel, which can result in serious oral health problems, such as tooth sensitivity to hot or cold foods, and in some cases this is irreversible.
Curb Your Consumption
A healthy balanced diet is essential for strong teeth. The food you eat and what you drink can strengthen your teeth. If you decide you can’t totally cut out consuming energy drinks, there are some steps that you can incorporate to reduce the negative effects.
- Curb your consumption – limit how often and how much you consume.
- Use a straw to reduce direct contact with your teeth.
- Drink your energy drink at the end of a meal. The saliva in your mouth will retain the natural level of pH and mineralize your tooth enamel.
- Rinse your mouth with water after drinking an energy drink to help restore the pH levels in your mouth. Wait 30 minutes, before brushing your teeth; brushing any sooner will allow acid into your porous teeth.
- Chew sugar-free gum to increase the production of saliva in the mouth.
Regular Dental Visits
If you feel concerned about your teeth because you’ve been consuming a lot of energy drinks, make an appointment to see Dr. Angela S. Evanson. Regular dental visits every six months will help keep your oral health in check.
To schedule an appointment, please contact Dr. Evanson online or call our office at (720) 409-0008. Your teeth will thank you in years to come.Leave a reply →