Instant Energy… At What Cost?

We have been told many times that in order to prevent cavities, we need to stay away from sugar. Drinking sugary drinks and eating too much candy means our trips to the dentist will include fillings and reprimands. Most Americans are careful to take as many precautions as possible with their teeth, and if something is found to cause tooth decay, they try to stay away from it; or keep at the very least limit their intake.

Unfortunately, something that has become extremely popular in the last 20 years is now proving to be irreversibly damaging to our teeth. Energy drinks are ingested by teenagers and adults as a way of getting a quick start in the morning or a boost during an afternoon slump. Next time you reach for one, know that it comes at a high price. These energy drinks are high in citric acid, used as a flavor enhancer and preservative. This acid has been found to erode tooth enamel twice as fast as even the sweetest soft drink or sports drink. Once the enamel has been damaged, the effect is irreversible.

If you get into the habit of drinking energy drinks, you may end up with sensitivity that is uncomfortable, along with more cavities and tooth decay. These are very serious consequences that are especially troubling because the largest segment of the population drinking these energy beverages is teenagers.

The best way to avoid the damage that comes with energy drinks is to not drink them at all. If this is not possible, there are a few things that can be done to help mitigate any potential effects.
– Have a glass of water immediately after drinking the energy drink. This will promote saliva production which lessens the effect of the acid.
– Chew a piece of sugar free gum. This will also produce more saliva, again lessening the damaging effects of the acid.
– Contrary to instinct, brushing teeth right after drinking an energy drink is not a good idea. Drink water first and wait at least half an hour before brushing teeth.

It is important to our oral health and hygiene that we understand exactly what the risks of energy drink consumption are and how best to deal with them. We must educate ourselves and take the same precautions we have taken with other food and drink products that have been found to be detrimental. If we take care of our smile today, we can show off our pearly whites tomorrow and well into the future.