How Energy and Sports Drinks Effect Your Teeth

While we all know that sugar is considered unhealthy for your teeth, it is important to know that the acid in energy and sports drinks can also do some irreversible damage to your pearly whites.

The General Dentistry journal has published research finding that energy and sports drinks contain so much acid that they start destroying teeth after only five days of consistent use. It is estimated that 30-50% percent of American teens drink energy drinks and up to 62% drink sports drinks at least once a day. “Young adults consume these drinks assuming that they will improve their sports performance and energy levels and that they are ‘better’ for them than soda,” said Poonam Jain, lead author of the study. “Most of these patients are shocked to learn that these drinks are essentially bathing their teeth with acid.” Teeth become sensitive to touch and temperature and are much more likely to develop cavities and decay when enamel is damaged.

Jain and colleagues analyzed the acidity, pH and fluoride of 13 different sports drinks and nine energy drinks (including Gatorade and Red Bull) by submerging samples of human tooth enamel in each beverage for 15 minutes.  They then immersed the samples in artificial saliva for two hours. This was repeated four times a day for five days. The scientists observed damage to the enamel by the time the five days were up.

While it has been argued that a normal person does not hold liquids in their mouths for this long, researchers retort that constant consumption of these products can most definitely lead to the same level of damage.

Energy drinks were the worst culprits, the researchers said. They said acidity levels vary among brands and flavors of energy drinks, and caused twice as much damage as the sports drinks. Needless to say drinks that combine a load of acid and sugar are detrimental to a healthy smile.

Try choosing less acidic drinks – water being the best! – and make sure to schedule an appointment with Valley Dental today to keep your teeth in tip-top shape!

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