We all know that sugary drinks can cause tooth damage, but what about the very acidic energy drinks that are becoming increasingly popular? Energy drinks first appeared on the market in the late 1990s, and the global energy drink market has expanded ever since. Although further research into their health impacts is needed, we do know that these acidic drinks can be exceedingly damaging to your oral health.
Acidity Can Damage Your Teeth
While we all enjoy an occasional soda or other sports drink, it is known that the acid levels in energy drinks are much higher than found in even those. The most durable substance in the human body is enamel; in fact, it is stronger than bone. There have been many studies done that show how acidic drinks are detrimental to the enamel. Sugar can penetrate the tooth and cause cavities when the enamel is weak. When the cavities are left over time, this can lead to tooth loss, the need for root canals, and other oral health issues.
The saliva pH in your mouth is around 6.8 or 7, considered neutral. The lower the pH, the more likely you are to lose enamel from your teeth. Researchers discovered that even a small amount of a very acidic drink can lower the pH of your saliva.
With just one sip of these very acidic drinks, your saliva could drop to a pH of 2 on the scale. It takes about 30 minutes for the human body to restore the pH of the saliva to normal. Your teeth are essentially soaked in an acidic atmosphere for 30 minutes.
Nobody drinks just one sip; let’s all be honest with ourselves. Typically we drink a whole can or bottle, which is 12-20 oz or more in some cases. Many teenagers and adults consume energy drinks at least once a day. This means your teeth are exposed to their acids, sugar, and caffeine, all of which contribute to the weakening of tooth enamel.
Reduce Your Consumption
Drinking energy drinks can have some pretty bad effects on your oral health. When possible, you should avoid them altogether. However, we understand that this isn’t an option for some. That’s why we have created a list of things you can do to help combat the negative effects they have on your teeth and general oral health. Let’s take a look at those:
- Reduce your intake by limiting how frequently and how much you consume energy drinks, soda, and other sports drinks.
- To avoid direct contact with your teeth, use a straw.
- Drink your energy drink after a meal. Your saliva has a better chance of maintaining the natural pH of your mouth and mineralizing your tooth enamel.
- After drinking an energy drink, rinse your mouth with water to help restore the pH levels in your mouth. Brush your teeth after 30 minutes; brushing too soon will let acid into your porous teeth.
- Chew sugar-free gum to stimulate saliva production in the mouth.
This is great advice for choosing food or drink that isn’t that good for your teeth. Reduce the amount you eat or drink of that food or drink, and follow the other tips to improve overall oral health.
If you have further questions, contact our office, and we would be happy to assist.