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Are Energy Drinks Safe for Your Teeth?

Energy Drinks_Cavities_Enamel Erosion_Tooth DecayConsuming an energy drink prior to working out is said to improve physical endurance and alertness with a combination of caffeine and other ingredients touted to be good for you. Energy drinks also contain sugar – a lot of sugar along with a very high acidic pH. In addition to increasing heart rate and sugar levels, energy drinks bathe your teeth in ingredients that can cause enamel erosion. Here’s what you need to know about energy drinks and your teeth.

The Energy in an Energy Drink

Some of the ingredients in energy drinks include taurine, B vitamins, and ginseng. While there are health benefits to these supplements, the stamina delivered by an energy drink comes from caffeine and sugar. For example, one 8.4-ounce can of Red Bull® contains 27 grams (about 5 teaspoons) of sugar, while a 16-ounce can of Monster® contains about 54 grams (about 11 teaspoons) of sugar. Caffeine content ranges from 70mg up to 300mg. The acidity level in energy drinks is two times greater than it is in soda and other sports drinks.

Sugar and Caffeine Effect on Teeth

There are more than 700 million species of bacteria naturally present in your mouth. These bacteria feed on sugar and the byproduct is acid. The acid comes into contact with the enamel, slowly weakening it. The more sugar consumed the harder bacteria work to convert it to acid. Continued weakening of the enamel can result in:

  • Sensitivities to hot and cold temperatures
  • Discomfort when eating certain foods
  • Higher risk of cavities
  • Inflammation of the roots of teeth
  • Bleeding gums
  • Cracked broken enamel

The consumption of caffeine can cause similar damage. The pH of the saliva in your mouth in a neutral environment is approximately 6.8 or 7. A single sip of a highly acidic energy drink can drop the saliva’s pH level. It takes the human body around 30 minutes to return the saliva’s pH back to normal. We rarely take one sip of a beverage, but rather consume the beverage until it’s gone. This means enamel is continuously bathed in erosion causing acidity.

Alternatives to Energy Drinks

If you’re feeling low on energy, there are healthier options to help you get up and go.

Water – when our bodies are dehydrated, our brains work twice as hard to maintain cognitive function, negatively affect muscle performance, and slow down the body’s ability to rid itself of toxins. Feeling tired, reach for water.

Green Tea – opt for green tea over an energy drink or cup of coffee. This amino-rich beverage also contains some caffeine to give you a boost but is significantly less in caffeine over other beverages.

Protein Shakes – lack of protein can cause loss of muscle mass, slow down metabolism, and cause a general feeling of fatigue. Choose low-sugar protein powders mixed with almond milk, and natural peanut butter.

Green Juice – they may not look pretty but contain numerous health benefits including boosted immunity, weight loss, and reduced inflammation. Common ingredients like celery contain energy-boosting chlorophyll, whereas parsley builds red blood cells that also improve energy levels.

There are healthier alternatives to energy drinks, but if this beverage is a vice that you choose to keep it’s equally important to maintain a stringent routine of dental hygiene. Brush teeth twice per day for two minutes each time. Floss in the evening and visit your dentist for a cleaning and routine checkup every six months. Consider switching your current energy drink for a low-sugar version and rinse your mouth with water after drinking.

At Imperial Dental Center, our goal is to provide the best dental care to our patients to ensure the health of their mouths and whole body. Contact us today at (281) 265-3567 or schedule an online appointment to discuss any dental concerns you may have.

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