Since an early age, we’ve been told to avoid sugary foods and beverages, as they can increase the risk of tooth and enamel erosion. That’s oral hygiene 101. Dentists have been kind enough to remind us numerous times those sugary carbonated soft drinks and sodas are no friends of our teeth. However, there’s a fact that might not have been emphasized enough: energy drinks can be equally harmful to our oral health!
What is in these drinks anyway?
Energy and sports drinks gained popularity with the launch of Red Bull in 1987, after which many other brands followed suit. Today, these drinks make up a multibillion-dollar industry which has shown tremendous growth over recent years. These drinks have become a raving trend particularly among young-adults, athletes, and students. A can of an energy drink containing 12 to 16 oz can give you an energy boost and improve your concentration, stamina, and performance. But, this can come with a price: damage to your teeth!
These drinks usually contain a huge dose of caffeine with an assortment of vitamins and flavors. Even the sugar-free variants are packed with ingredients that lower their pH, making them highly acidic.
Acid and Your Teeth
Remember it’s not just you who gets a boost from these drinks; the cariogenic bacteria i.e. the kind that causes tooth decay also multiply due to high sugar levels. These bacteria can be fueled by sugar and turn into acid factories. This acid is extremely detrimental for your tooth enamel. Continuous consumption of energy drinks can result in tooth and enamel erosion, cavities, and various oral health issues for many patients.
If you’ve slipped into the habit of sipping energy drinks round the clock, you are subjecting your teeth to a very long acid bath. The reason why these beverages have gained the notorious title of “the acid mouthwash” is their low pH ranging between 2.5 to 3.5. This is similar to you sipping the gastric acid from your stomach (which is not a very appetizing image!). Therefore, your teeth experience enamel erosion and become weak. Sometimes these drinks can cause or exacerbate acid reflux, and the extra influx of stomach acid can contribute to further wear on your enamel.
The Role of Caffeine
Another villain for your teeth is the caffeine content. It’s the most commonly consumed psychoactive substance and the reason why a can of energy drink makes you more focused. However, it allows harmful bacteria to grow in your mouth and cause tooth and enamel erosion. It also can cling to your tongue, and cause bad breath.
A higher intake of caffeine would leave you with a dry mouth. It can sometimes slow down the production of saliva, which means there’s nothing to balance the acidic environment in your mouth. Less saliva can impact your gums, and teeth, taking away a natural defense against acid and its effects.
In a nutshell, energy drinks are not an ideal beverage choice if you wish to care for your bright smile. If you are looking for more ways to care for your teeth, stop by our local San Antonio Dental Office, we will do all we can to give you the tools you need to maintain a beautiful and healthy smile!