Once you get in the habit of getting routine boosts from energy and sports drinks each day, it can be hard to ween yourself off of them. Before you introduce these sugary, acidic beverages into your diet this summer, learn how they can impact your enamel and oral health from your dentist. Whether you’re a teenager or an adult, excessive consumption of these drinks has been proven to increase your risk of experiencing oral health problems. Read on to learn about what makes sports and energy beverages so bad for your teeth.
What Issues Can Energy and Sports Drinks Cause Your Oral Health?
The British Journal of Sports Medicine published a study about sports drinks and oral health problems common in athletes. They found that several issues plague young athletes due to their consumption of sugary and acidic beverages to help them power through games. Some of these problems include:
- Tooth Decay. Consuming excessive amounts of acidic foods or beverages can erode tooth enamel, creating holes, cavities, and leaving you more susceptible to experiencing dental emergencies.
- Gum Disease. Harmful oral bacteria feed off of sugars and carbohydrates, so when they’re constantly being fueled by sweet sports drinks, they can accumulate and cause issues such as gum disease. This is a bacterial infection of the gums that causes, swelling, irritation, chronic bad breath, and can even result in tooth loss down the road.
- Enamel Erosion. The enamel of your teeth protects them from decay and infections. Acid causes this outer layer to deteriorate and leaves your pearly whites susceptible to being attacked by bacteria, plaque, and tartar.
What Makes These Beverages Wreak Havoc On Your Oral Health?
A study published in an issue of General Dentistry showed the harmful effect that the citric acid found in energy drinks can have on your teeth. These beverages are packed full of acid because it extends its shelf life and enhances the flavor. Unfortunately, it also strips the enamel from your teeth, leaving them vulnerable to decay.
Nowadays, it’s not uncommon for teens, college students, and adults to turn to these boosts of energy to help them get through the day. In fact, it’s estimated that anywhere from 30 to 50 percent of teenagers consume them. Researchers from the study were able to measure how much enamel these drinks strip off teeth by placing molars in a petri dish filled with the beverages for 15 minutes, followed by saliva for two hours. After repeating this process multiple times a day for five days, they noticed significant erosion.
How Can You Protect Your Mouth?
The best way to protect your pearly whites from being damaged is to watch your consumption of foods and drinks packed full of sugars, carbs, and acid. Additionally, be sure to brush twice a day and floss to help control the number of oral bacteria in your mouth. When you visit your dentist for your routine checkup and cleaning, be sure to ask if they’ve noticed the effects that quitting this habit has had on your mouth.
About the Author
Dr. Joseph Sandberg has been optimizing his patients’ oral health for over three decades. He strives to exceed each of his patients’ expectations and demonstrate his commitment to giving comfortable, comprehensive, and high-quality dental care. As an active member of several professional associations, he keeps up to date with the latest advancements and technology in his field. For questions or to schedule a checkup and cleaning, visit South Jersey Center for Dental Medicine’s website or contact 856-596-4333.