You’re probably aware that sodas and juices aren’t the best choice for your teeth, but you may be surprised at the number of people who think that subbing in energy drinks or sports drinks are a much better option. The truth is that energy drinks and sports drinks can also do plenty of damage to your teeth if you consume them regularly. Today, we take a closer look at why these drinks can lead to tooth decay, and how to protect your teeth through your drink choices.
Energy Drinks and Your Teeth
It should come as no surprise that both energy drinks and sports
drinks are loaded with sugar or sugar substitutes, but that’s not the only
reason why you want to limit your intake of these drinks. Sugar provides a perfect
breeding ground for bacteria that contributes to tooth decay, so you want to
limit your intake of sugar, but the other problem is the acidity.
A recent study out of Southern Illinois University found that when
comparing 22 different energy and sports drinks, the energy drinks were often
much more acidic.
“We found the acidity was two times higher in energy drinks than
it was for sports drinks,” said Poonam Jain, BDS, MS, MPH, vice dean for
clinical education, operation, and community partnerships at the A.T. Still
University Missouri School of Dentistry and Oral Health and lead researcher on
the study. “The lower the pH, the greater potential for losing enamel from your
Enamel is the hard outer coating of your teeth, and it’s even
harder than bone. However, even the hardest substance in your body can wear
down if repeatedly exposed to highly acidic drinks, like energy drinks.
Preventing Enamel Loss
The American Beverage Association, which certainly would like to
quiet the message that some of their products can contribute to tooth decay,
released a statement saying that “No single food or beverage is a factor for
enamel loss and tooth decay,” and that “individual susceptibility to dental
cavities and tooth erosion varies depending on a person’s dental hygiene,
lifestyle and total diet and genetic makeup.”
They are somewhat correct, but it’s also misleading. One energy
drink isn’t going to erode your teeth like Gollum in The Lord of the Rings, but
if a person regularly makes energy drinks a part of their diet, they are
certainly going to be at risk for tooth problems. Problems with energy drinks
can also be exacerbated if we don’t have good dental hygiene or we make other
poor dietary decisions, so we need to be cognizant of how we’re caring for our
At the end of the day, one energy drink won’t ruin your teeth, but
energy drinks, sodas, coffee or sports drinks should not be your primary daily
drink. Instead, you should be reaching for water, as the added fluoride
actually works to strengthen enamel and protect your teeth. If you’re going to
indulge in a sugary or acidic drink, try to do so alongside water or food, as
this can help keep these sugars and acids from sticking to your teeth. And
finally, be sure that you are practicing good dental hygiene, regardless of
your beverage choices. Everybody should be brushing and flossing daily and
being cognizant of their dietary choices if they want to keep their keep
protected throughout their life.
For more beverage information, or to schedule your semi-annual
checkup, reach out to Dr. Brooks’ office today.