Energy and sports drinks have become increasingly popular in recent years, especially among teens. While they may help to boost energy levels and athletic performance, they can also have a detrimental effect on your teeth. The reason for this is their high acidity level, which can erode tooth enamel with enough exposure.
Beverages and Tooth Enamel
A study published in 2012 tested the effects that various energy and sports drinks have on tooth enamel. The team dipped enamel samples into the different drinks for 15 minutes at a time, after which they were stored in an artificial saliva solution for two hours. The process was repeated four times per day over the course of five days in order to simulate common consumption habits common among teens.
After five days, the average enamel loss was about 1.5% for sports drinks. Energy drinks were double that: roughly 3%. When consumed over time, this can lead to significant damage, made all the worse by the fact that enamel loss is irreversible. This can then lead to higher tooth sensitivity, cavities, tooth decay, and yellowing.
Acidity Levels and the Mouth
The primary reason for these drinks’ effect on the mouth is their acidity. Most energy and sports drinks contain high amounts of citric acid, which acts as a preservative. Unfortunately, it also erodes tooth enamel. In addition to citric acid, many drinks have high amounts of sugar, which also increases acid levels. As an individual washes his or her mouth in acidic, sugary beverages, the acidity levels in the mouth make it more hospitable for bacteria, further increasing the risk of cavities and tooth decay.
Fortunately, there are a number of ways to reduce the effect that these beverages have on your teeth. Primarily, these method generally work by controlling the acidity levels in the mouth. Following are a few things you can do:
- Dilute beverages before drinking them
- Wait an hour before brushing, since otherwise you might spread the acid around
- Rinse the mouth with water after consumption
- Chew sugarless gum to stimulate saliva flow, which helps return acidity levels to normal
Of course, the best way to prevent sports and energy drinks from damaging your teeth in the first place is by simply minimizing the amounts you consume.
Dental Care Options
Common symptoms of enamel loss caused by high consumption of energy and sports drinks include increased tooth sensitivity, cavities, and tooth decay. If you notice these symptoms, then it might be time to cut down on energy / sports drinks. In addition, it is also likely time to see your dentist.
At Lynn Dental Care, we provide the expert care your teeth need, whether you are trying to fix the damage caused by beverages or simply visiting for a regular checkup. We care about your dental health, and Dr. Lynn has the experience and knowledge necessary to make sure your smile is as healthy as it can be. To learn more about taking care of your teeth or to set up an appointment, call Lynn Dental Care today.