Sugar may rot your teeth, but the acids found in energy and sports drinks will also cause irreversible damage, a recent study has shown. The findings, published in the May/June 2012 issue of General Dentistry, the peer-reviewed clinical journal of the Academy of General Dentistry, show that energy and sports drinks contain so much acid that they start destroying teeth after only five days of consistent use.
“Young adults consume these drinks assuming that they will improve their sports performance and energy levels and that they are ‘better’ for them than soda,” says Poonam Jain, BDS, MS, MPH, lead author of the study. “Most of these patients are shocked to learn that these drinks are essentially bathing their teeth with acid.”
The acidity levels in these popular beverages are responsible for eroding tooth enamel, the hard, shiny, white outer surface of the teeth. Damage caused to tooth enamel is irreversible, and without the protection of enamel, teeth become overly sensitive, prone to cavities, and more likely to decay.
It is wise then, that we minimize our intake of sports and energy drinks. If we do choose to consume them, it is a good idea to chew sugar-free gum or to rinse the mouth with water following their consumption. These tactics increase saliva flow, which naturally helps to return the acidity levels in the mouth to normal. It is also recommended that a person should wait at least half an hour to brush their teeth after consuming sports and energy drinks, otherwise they will be further spreading the acid onto tooth surfaces, increasing the erosive action.
There are other factors to consider as well. Sports and energy drinks are heavy in sugar, and high sugar content is a leading cause of obesity, which itself leads to a host of health problems such as diabetes and heart trouble.
With all of this in mind, you might want to consider using a different option to help energize before workouts or quench your thirst afterward. Water, which has excellent rehydrating properties, may well be a wiser alternative to energy drinks, which are often loaded, not just with sugar, but also with caffeine and artificial ingredients. And as research has shown, they can be costly, not just in purchase price, but also in dentistry bills.
Have more questions regarding the use of Energy Drinks? The next time you visit North Burnaby Dental Group, please feel free to ask our knowledgeable professionals.