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Greensboro, NC 27408

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October 25, 2021

Are Energy Drinks Bad For Your Teeth?

As dentists we’ve been preaching the harmful effects of soda and other sugary drinks for decades. But what about popular energy drinks like Red Bull, Monster, and Bang? Often replacing other caffeine and sugar filled beverages, energy drinks are popular in the United States and are expected to reach $72 billion by 2024. The largest consumption group is men ages 18-34. Almost ⅓ of teens drink them on a regular basis.Some energy drinks are marketed as beverages and others as dietary supplements. In fact, next to multivitamins, energy drinks were reported to be the most popular dietary supplement consumed by American teens and young adults. 

Ongoing research is still determining the long term full scope health effects of energy drinks. We do know that excessive amounts of caffeine can be associated with heart issues, digestive problems, dehydration, sleep problems, and anxiety. But what about our teeth? Are energy drinks bad for our teeth? Yes. Dental experts agree that regular consumption of these highly acidic beverages can cause serious damage to your teeth. Your tooth enamel is the hardest substance in your body, harder than bone. Yet the acid in energy drinks can dissolve tooth enamel. Read that again... it can dissolve the hardest substance in your body!

A key factor in this effect is the impact of acidic drinks on your saliva’s pH levels. The pH levels in your saliva help protect your teeth. A single sip of an energy drink can make your pH levels drop significantly. It takes your body approximately 30 minutes to restore the pH levels back to a normal status, but the reality is that most people aren’t taking a single sip. They are consuming a full 12-16 ounce can. Energy drinks with a pH of 3.2 are almost as acidic as battery acid. 

Acid can also lead to bacteria growth which in turn can increase your chances of tooth and gum disease. The American Beverage Association believes that tooth decay and other dental problems are more complex than a canned or bottled drink noting that “No single food or beverage is a factor for enamel loss and tooth decay. Individual susceptibility to both dental cavities and tooth erosion varies depending on a person’s dental hygiene, lifestyle, total diet and genetic make-up.”

But dentists nationwide are seeing the effects of energy drinks. One dentist in Michigan reported that for decades he found the leading cause of tooth decay in children to be juice, and now in adults, it’s energy drinks. A dentist in California observed that because people are so wired after drinking an energy drink, many grind their teeth. That sometimes causes tooth breakage and tooth loss. She added that energy drinks can also spur more acid reflux production, which can in turn cause more cavities. 

Ways you can combat the negative effects of energy drinks:

  • Limit consumption.
  • Rinse your mouth with water after drinking energy drinks to help restore the pH levels in your mouth. 
  • Use a straw to avoid direct contact with your teeth.
  • Drink your energy drink at the end of a meal. The saliva in your mouth will help maintain the natural level of pH and mineralize your tooth enamel.
  • Wait 30 minutes after consuming an energy beverage, before brushing your teeth. Your teeth are softer after acid exposure and brushing them will wear away the enamel possibly making them more sensitive.   
  • Chew sugar-free gum to increase the production of saliva in the mouth.

Some natural alternatives to energy drinks you may want to consider include:

  • Green tea: Contains natural caffeine in trace amounts. 
  • Green juices and smoothies: Try using natural sources of vitamin B in your smoothies
    such as parsley, kale and spinach. 
  • Water: Helps increase energy levels when metabolic processes slow down. 

The bottom line is that energy drinks can have a significant effect on your oral health. Beverages high in sugar and acidity can cause irreversible damage to tooth enamel, which leaves teeth more susceptible to sensitivity and decay. Limit consumption and seek natural alternatives to boost your energy. Make sure you see your dentist every six months for a professional cleaning and evaluation.

Margaret Szott DDS, PA is a general and family dentist in Greensboro NC offering the highest standard of personalized dental care for her patients. Dr. Szott is currently accepting new patients of all ages. Please contact us at (336) 286-9897 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Szott.

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Greensboro, NC 27408
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