September 14, 2021
Today, energy drinks are quite popular. They are considered an alternative to sodas, yet they, too, contain a high amount of sugar. What you may not know is that the sugar and acid content in energy drinks can cause severe damage on the enamel.
In this column, we will discuss energy drinks and their effect on your oral health.
The makers of energy drinks promote their ability to enhance physical performance, mental alertness and increased energy levels. In the US and Canada, retail sales in 2022 are expected to hit over $1 billion. The most popular of the energy drinks are said to be highly fortified with vitamins, minerals and energy boosters. Two well-known international brands are Red Bull and Monster.
The active ingredients in energy drinks are taurine – a dietary supplement; caffeine – a stimulant; guarana – a stimulant, and approximately 11 grams of sugar.
Energy drinks stress your oral health because of the high sugar and acid content. Bacteria naturally present in the mouth consumes sugar then produces waste. The waste products given off are very acidic. The acid then causes a weakening of the outer layer of the enamel resulting in tooth decay and sensitivity. The more sugar present, the more acid produced by the bacteria. This action can cause irreversible damage to tooth enamel. Also, the high degree of stimulants in energy drinks causes central nervous system hyperactivity resulting in excessive teeth grinding and teeth fractures.
Natural alternatives to energy drinks are green tea (some contain natural caffeine), green juices, and smoothies (parsley, kale and spinach). A simple and natural way to boost your metabolic processes is to drink lots of water.
Enamel is the hardest substance in the human body. It is much harder than bone, however this very tenacious substance cannot withstand the constant bathing of these highly acidic drinks. You see, the saliva has a pH of 6.8 or 7, which is considered neutral. A typical energy drink can decrease your saliva’s pH down to two on the pH scale. It takes the body approximately 30 minutes to stabilize the saliva back to a normal pH.
Since they appear healthier, compared to sodas, consuming energy drinks tends to give a false sense of security. When you choose to enjoy any high sugar or acidic drinks, you should be mindful of your unique condition. Individual susceptibility to both dental cavities and tooth erosion varies depending on a person’s dental hygiene, lifestyle, total diet and genetic make-up.
Click here to read more at The Nassau Guardian