Energy drinks cause tooth decay?


Do you still have pearly white teeth? And I'm sure you are aware that the health of your teeth is more valuable than gold? Energy drinks may sound like a good thing and obviously they are popular for different reasons for different people. But did you know they can cause serious damage to your teeth if you drink them often? A recent study which took a look at 22 different energy drinks, including Red Bull Sugar Free and Rockstar were acidic enough to harm tooth enamel. The Red Bull Sugar Free and Rockstar were the most acidic of the 22 tested. The authors of the study tested different brands of drinks for their effects on tooth enamel and found both energy drinks and sports drinks caused damage. Energy drinks, however, were twice as bad. Damaged tooth enamel cannot be fixed. Enamel is the hard outer layer of a tooth made mostly of minerals. Tooth decay is caused primarily by bacteria as they feed on the sugars in the food you eat - and they form acids. The acids attack the teeth for 20 minutes or more after eating. Over a period of time, these acids destroy tooth enamel, resulting in tooth decay. So by exposing your teeth to even more acid, you are speeding up the process. 

The study:

Poonam Jain, BDS, MPH, associate professor and director of community dentistry at the Southern Illinois University School of Dental Medicine and her associates tested 13 sports drinks and 9 energy drinks for acidity. They tested six drinks for their effects on tooth enamel and found both types caused damage. Energy drinks, however, were twice as bad. The study is published in the journal General Dentistry. (1)

Those who don't agree:

As would be expected, the industry itself has made various comments attempting to refute the results of this study. I don’t think any one questions that acidity damages the enamel on teeth, so it would probably depend on how many energy/sports drinks you drink a day and how long your teeth are exposed to the acid in your particular choice of drink.  I am working on a blog about energy drinks in general and they aren’t good for you for many reasons, this being only one of them. However, if you want to continue drinking your energy drinks/sports drinks, my suggestion would be to use some xylitol chewing gum immediately after and drinking water to dilute the acid levels. Xylitol has been found to kill bacteria in your mouth. We've found a NOW brand of xylitol in a local health food store and use it as one of our sugar free replacements and in our homemade toothpaste. The authors of the study suggested that brushing your teeth immediately after drinking the energy drink is not a good idea as it will spread the acid further. Their suggestion was to wait approximately one hour afterwards and then brush your teeth.

My suggestion, of course, would be to JUICE your own energy juice using real organic vegetables and fruits.

Thanks for listening!

1.  Academy of General Dentistry. "Sports and energy drinks responsible for irreversible damage to teeth." ScienceDaily, 1 May 2012. Web. 10 Sep. 2012.

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